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Producing concerts for a cause

As director and founder of Petaluma-based Tapestry Productions, Tamara Klamner has found her niche in the world: producing events that benefit good causes.

“I have been blessed with the opportunity to do this,” said Klamner. “People ask me to produce shows all the time, but the truth is I am very selective of who I will produce a show for. I want to be sure I believe full heartedly that I can support the organization. I do not do this for money. I do it because I want to do a good in the world.”

On May 17, Tapestry Productions will throw a birthday benefit concert for Wavy Gravy, the monumental counterculture figure, at the Sonoma Mountain Event Center in Rohnert Park. Presented by the SEVA Foundation, a Berkeley-based non-profit dedicated to treating blindness around the world, the show will include performances by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Steve Kimock and Friends, The California Honeydrops and Hot Buttered Rum.

The SEVA Foundation’s message of compassion drew Klamner to concert production more than 20 years ago.

It was soon after Wavy Gravy’s Woodstock reunion concert in 1994, which Klamner assisted with due to lack of staff, that she realized shew had a talent for producing shows.

Seven years later, Klamner began Tapestry Productions. The company’s most frequent client continues to be SEVA Foundation, but it has produced shows for The Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Changemakers, Earthdance International, MoveOn.org and others.

Klamner said the inspiration behind the company’s name came from the process of taking multiple pieces of fabric and weaving them together into one cohesive tapestry. Likewise, a concert becomes something more than an individual musical performance when everything connects, she said.

“From the artist, to the staff, to the people in the audience, they are all giving to the cause,” she said about the concerts she produces. “Nobody is there for selfish means and it creates an energy. That energy feels good and it is tangible. It’s what makes it special.”

Klamner was born in Maryland in 1962, to a mother deeply involved with the Civil Rights and anti-war movements.

When she was eight, Klamner and her family sold their belongings, packed into a brand new Volkswagen van and headed to a hippie commune in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

At the age of 11, Klamner attended her first Grateful Dead concert. Six years later, about a month before her high school graduation, she followed them on tour for the summer.

In the 1980s she traveled the world, returning to Northern California occasionally. It was through her visits to Nepal that Klamner was introduced to Buddhism, even gaining an audience with the Dalai Lama on several occasions.

But in 1989, Klamner really began soul searching as she tried to find out how she could be of service to the world.

“I had seen how much privilege we come from,” she said. “The inequity of that. I saw how less privileged others were in material wealth. I wanted my work in the world to help people with less.”

Klamner enrolled at World College West and began to study international development. She was introduced to SEVA Foundation through an internship and moved to Petaluma. She splits time between her home office and Berkeley, where she has an office as consultant with SEVA Foundation.

To learn more about Wavy Gravy’s 79th birthday benefit concert, visit tapestryproductions.net.

“The thing that makes this different from any other concert is that everyone is participating,” she said.

(Contact Joshua Gutierrez at argus@arguscourier.com.)