Gig Promoter Mercedes Benson On Her Trauma Research Fundraiser: ‘We Need To Educate People’

Research has increased young people’s chances of surviving traumatic injuries by more than 50 percent in the last five years, but if you come into hospital critically injured, there’s still a one in three chance you’ll die from your injuries. Barts Charity, which is affiliated with five London hospitals including The Royal London Hospital, has organised a trauma research fundraising gig called Transformation at Village Underground on Saturday November 19 – with the help of DJ and gig promoter Mercedes Benson. The line-up includes Beach Baby, Kojey Radical, Becky Hill and Rukhsana Merrise, and we caught up with Mercedes to discuss what the gig’s about and how she put the lineup together. 

How did you get involved with Barts Charity?

“I was featured in NME earlier this year, and one of the points that I made was that I’d really love to be able to merge music and charity together as a way to raise awareness for good causes. Off the back of that I was approached by Barts Charity and they asked me if I would work for them. I was like: ‘Yeah, let’s do it, let’s merge both worlds and do something for a good cause.’”

Why is it so important to raise awareness about trauma?

“It’s one of the biggest killers amongst young people and it can happen on a small scale and a large scale. There’s so many different injuries, so many psychological issues that can arise from trauma that people really need to know more about. One of the things that really resonated with me was when knife crime was listed as one of the trauma injuries – especially in my community, being a black Londoner, it’s just something that I feel really passionate about, and I think young people need to be aware of that. We need to educate more people about trauma and try to prevent it as much as possible. But not only that, just support the individuals in the hospitals and in the research centres that are doing their best to rise above it.”

How did you get the lineup together?

“We wanted to pick artists that are not only talented but have substance in their words and what they say. And I think from Becky Hill to Kojey Radical in particular, whose poetry is very driven and passionate – to Rukhsana whose lyrical content is just really deep – I think it’s about getting talent like that and putting it on them on the stage.

“We didn’t really pick individuals who are super, super mainstream and I think that’s quite important as well. Just like with the trauma cases, it’s still the underdog amongst the illnesses and diseases that are out there. We wanted to mirror that through the lineup and pick individuals that we feel are next in line – and I guess create awareness about them as well. So it was a very intricate line-up but we believe in them and believe in their talent and we do feel like in 2017 they are going to do their thing. We just wanted to align with them and there message early on.

How did you get into organising gigs?

“It was pretty much accidental, so we started up a music platform Future SNDS and it was basically about putting on a stage underdog artists that kind of live on Soundcloud and didn’t really have a stage to mainstream audiences to showcase their gifts and their talents. It was kind of a one-off event that happened at XOYO. We realised that there was such a demanding need for it we just been going with it ever since. So it’s been over a year since we’ve started been pushing Future SNDS artists.”

You mention trauma survivor stories will be at the heart of the event – what will that involve at the gig?

“As well as the performances from the artists, we’re also going to be highlighting inspirational stories from the survivors and doctors and researchers that really do their best to raise awareness about trauma and help trauma victims day to day. I think that’s really important – to see a 360 message from all the people that are involved in handling and looking after trauma survivors. It’s going to be an in-depth concept, it’s going to be different, it’s going to be informative and fun and super inspirational. I’m looking forward to it.”

The first wave of tickets for both the Transformation Concert and The Switch Up After Party have now sold out. Limited tickets available for the final wave! Don’t miss out: head to to secure your place at a lifesaving night of music. Be part of the fight against trauma.