You can support R5 Productions during the pandemic by buying custom Vans of the First Unitarian Church carpet - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

The folks at R5 Productions are getting into the sneaker game.

The Philly independent show promoters, who have been in business since 1996, have been unable to put on shows for approximately two months now, but landed on a flashy way to support their staff — “the hand stampers, the ticket scanners, guest list receivers, equipment lifters, email writers, the behind-the-scenes and on-the-ground people who work to help make all ages live music a reality.”

Thanks to a partnership with Vans, you can now buy sneakers designed after the iconic ratty carpet — filled with letters, numbers, and shapes in a playful multi-hue tapestry — that gets rolled out on the stage of the First Unitarian Church for each gig.

Back on April 30th, R5 simply Tweeted a photo of the carpet, and racked up the retweets and quote tweets around the regional DIY scene. Two weeks later, you can purchase custom sneakers with that carpet design on it for $90 from the Vans website, with proceeds going to R5 staff.

“The iconic stage floor of the First Unitarian Church, what we lovingly refer to as ‘The Carpet,’ is featured in photographs of nearly every band who has played The Church for over two decades,” the folks at R5 say on Twitter, sharing a bevy of fun facts about the carpet’s history. “Years of shoe prints, spike tape, bands’ sweat, and spilled drinks make it an ever-changing and living testament to our commitment to all ages shows.”

In addition to The Church Carpet Vans, a couple R5-adjacent venues have also offered unique apparel-related benefits in recent weeks.

PhilaMOCA, which is still working with the City of Philadelphia to get re-zoned so it can host gigs again, is raising money through coffin-themed custom Vans designed by Rodger Binyone.

Union Transfer is selling a COVID-19 relief shirt designed by Perry Shall — with images of hand sanitizer and, on the long-sleeve version, toilet paper.

Even if Philly venues aren’t necessarily offering limited-edition merch to entice you, they still could use our support. You can support Johnny Brenda’s employee relief GoFundMe campiagn here, and support World Cafe Live’s Emergency Fund here.

Fundraising for XPN’s own Music Community Relief Fund is ongoing as well. You can donate to that here.

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