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Milwaukee bands host a benefit for Bay View's Hi-Fi Café

For nearly 25 years, Hi-Fi Café has been a Bay View staple, a hangout for neighbors, local musicians and teenagers looking for an all-ages home away from home. Now some of the café's regulars are paying it forward, doing their part to help the business through a rough time.

Hi-Fi owner and operations manager Mary Hart has a chronic illness that has prevented her from working full-time at the café, and on Sunday, March 15, a lineup of local musicians will play an all-ages benefit for the café at Cactus Club. Performers include Testa Rosa, Retoro, Juniper Tar, Red Stuff, Magnetic Minds and Bleed. There will also be a DJ set from the duo The Quilz, whose member Sage Schwarm opened Hi-Fi in 1996.

For benefit organizer Chris DeMay, of Juniper Tar, the cause is personal. "When I first moved to town back in 2001, Hi-Fi was one of the first places that welcomed me to the neighborhood," DeMay recalls. "I would go in there all the time and my son, Enzo, who has helped me with this benefit. He's been going there since before he could walk; I'd have him in the stroller there. So Hi-Fi has been a constant in both of our lives."

Hi-Fi Cafe |

A number of neighborhood businesses are contributing, too. The benefit show will include a raffle featuring goods and gift certificates from URSA, Sky High Skate Shop & Gallery, Alive & Fine, Vanguard, Luv Unlimited, Rush-Mor Records, Goodkind and artist Jeff Redmond.

The benefit starts at 3 p.m. on March 15. You can find more information at its Facebook event page.