Softlipa, one of the artists in the line up for the Lunar New Year 2016 concert

Apex for Youth and Xi’an Famous Foods present: Lunar New Year Festival benefit concert

For the second year in a row, Xi’an Famous Foods is presenting a benefit concert in time for the Lunar New Year in collaboration with Apex for Youth, a nonprofit organization that works to help under served Asian and immigrant youth from low-income families in New York City. The event’s proceeds will be going towards Apex’s programs for teaching, mentoring, and coaching.

This year’s concert will be held at Terminal 5 in Manhattan and the lineup includes hip-hop EDM group Far East Movement, YouTube singer-songwriter Kina Grannis, Taiwanese artist Kimberley Chen, and rapper Softlipa.

Along with live music, there will be businesses from around the city selling their food, such as Mokbar, Korilla BBQ, Yonekichi, Otafuku, and Xi’an Famous Foods themselves.

Xi'an Famous Foods Lunar New Year Concert 2015 #‎lnyfxffXi’an Famous Foods Lunar New Year Concert 2015 #‎lnyfxff

Anne Lee, the Development Director for Apex for Youth, said the idea for hosting a benefit concert initially came from Jason Wang, the CEO of Xi’an Famous Foods.  Lee said it was the connection that Wang felt to the organization’s mission that got him involved with them.

“Jason himself is an immigrant and moved here with his family at a very young age,” Lee said. “His background is actually very similar to our youth. Ever since we made that initial connection with Jason, he started coming to our events when he could, he came to our gala and listened to some of our student teachers speak.”

Lee recalled a particular moment when one of their youths spoke at event about how she used to live in small, cramped quarters while still in high school and felt like she didn’t have many friends, and afterward Wang went up to the young girl and told her how he felt the same way when he was growing up.

“I think for her it was encouraging to know that someone successful at such a young age grew up very similar to her,” Lee said, “That’s why it’s great that Jason wants to give back to the community he grew up in.”

Lee pointed out how the fact that their communities align was a reason in the conception of the concert. The first Xi’an Famous Foods opened in Flushing followed by Chinatown, and many of Apex’s mentees come from Flushing while Apex itself started in Chinatown.

Far East Movement will be playing at the Lunar New Year 2016 concert presented by Xi'an Famous FoodsFar East Movement will be playing at the Lunar New Year 2016 concert presented by Xi’an Famous Foods

“There were just a lot of synergies there,” Lee said. “Definitely with the addition of Taiwanese American Professionals (TAP-NY) and the help of TAP’s president, Alex Shih, it really rounded everything out. TAP is a very influential with Asian American young professionals.”

Even though they only had a few months to prepare for last year’s concert, which featured MC Jin and Clara Chung as some of the acts, it ended up selling out and brought in 500 attendees. Lee hopes this year will have even bigger of a turn out and thinks having a festival like this is important for the Asian and Asian American community in New York City.

“[The festival] really brings together all Asians – whether you’re Asian American and or an Asian immigrant. We’re always trying to get Asian artists too so it’s a good way to band together. It is a more large-scale event and Lunar New Year is a great way to celebrate it, and for people to recognize what we do at Apex and what our mission is. A lot of Asian immigrant youths in these communities need help and whether or not people decide to volunteer or support us in any way, I think awareness-wise, it’s a great way for people to know.”

The Lunar New Year Festival and Benefit Concert is on February 20 from 5:30 PM to 10 PM at Terminal 5 on 610 W. 56th Street and tickets can still be purchased with an option of General Admission for $60, VIP for $120 or V-VIP for $280.