Busking For Refugees: 3 Musicians Raising Thousands For Crisis Relief

With a guitar, an English concertina, and a mandolin, three longtime musicians are turning their notes into funds for refugees around the world. And a serendipitous meeting with GlobalGiving’s Director of Disaster Response brought their efforts full circle.


I’ve been living in Charlottesville, Va. for about five years, and I have come to regard the Farmers Market at IX Art Park as my favorite place to be—and to build community. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, and since, it’s where I go to unwind after a busy week—to learn about how my produce is grown and how recent weather patterns impact what’s on offer. I love the seasonality, observing the ebbs and flows of vendors and friends as cold months set in, only to be replenished with the sunshine in the spring. I deepen connections with my neighbors there and sit on the grass to snack on delicious treats.

The Webley Twizzle Project has made occasional appearances at IX Park, and I’ve enjoyed their music. They are a great addition to the market vibe. But one Saturday, I looked more closely at the sign posted in front of the trio as they played and noticed they were raising money for the GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.

Instantly, the world felt smaller.

As the Director of Disaster Response for GlobalGiving, I’ve been involved in our Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund since its launch in 2022. My professional and personal lives were intersecting in such a surprising, lovely way.

I’m so grateful that Pete Marshall, Bruce Carveth, and Michael Giordano, who make up The Webley Twizzle Project, share their musical talent to generate awareness and support for worthy causes like relief for people impacted by the crisis in Ukraine and refugees in need of safety and care around the world.

As I’ve listened to them play, I’ve also gotten to know them better. I’ve learned more about their trust in GlobalGiving, and their support for our local community partners responding to crises in Ukraine and beyond. This conversation, which we had at the Farmers Market, is a piece of their story that they’ve shared with me:

    Q: Why are you raising money for refugees today?

    Bruce: The refugee problem has been with us for so long, but it’s ballooned over the last five years, and both the United Nations, the UNHCR, and GlobalGiving are doing the best they can—but we know they need money. I mean, it’s just visible. It’s on television all the time. It seems that there’s more and more migration going on and that it poses a major problem for countless families in the world.

    Money is needed, and we just wanted to make sure that we could collect a little bit and send it along.

    Q: How long have you been busking for causes like this?

    Pete: We started busking for Ukraine relief right after the war started. It’s not just us three, I’ve recruited a whole bunch of people to play over the last year and a half or so. We started right after the war started, and I’ve always tried to respond to things that are going on by busking and trying to raise some money—whatever the cause is—to help people out who are suffering. There was obviously a great need with Ukraine. So we started right after Russia invaded.

    Q: And how long have you been performing?

    Bruce: Since our retirement, we’ve done a whole lot more, but we’ve done it for years and years and years. It’s a hobby. It’s fun to do, and people seem to enjoy it.

    Pete: I’ve busked since I was a teenager, and I’m 69 now.

    Q: Do you remember how you learned about GlobalGiving?

    Pete: The first time we did it, it wasn’t for GlobalGiving for Ukraine. But then I think I heard about a benefit that was being done somewhere, and they listed the charities they were raising money for, and GlobalGiving was one of them. I looked into it and thought, well, they seem to know what they’re doing. Seems like a good way to channel the money to where it needs to go.

    It’s pretty easy to actually donate the money, too. So that makes a big difference if you know it takes a few clicks and the deed is done.

From their performances at the Farmers Market, the trio has raised $8,000 for crisis relief in Ukraine and Turkey and Syria after this year’s devastating earthquakes. As needs keep growing in so many places around the world, they keep busking, sending the funds to fuel critical support.

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Featured Photo: Support Ukrainian children of war by Children Of Heroes Of Ukraine Foundation

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