Tickets on sale to public May 20th for benefit at Metro supporting Theo Epstein’s Foundation To Be Named Later


CHICAGO – Legendary blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples will headline the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit concert on July 1 at Metro (3730 N Clark St., Chicago), just across the street from Wrigley Field. The event will raise funds for the Foundation To Be Named Later (FTBNL), which was founded by former Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and his twin brother, Paul.


Hot Stove Cool Music was last held in Chicago in 2019. Due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 concerts were virtual events. HSCM proceeds benefit FTBNL’s Peter Gammons College Scholarships and nonprofit partners assisting youth and families in underserved neighborhoods in Chicago and Boston. General admission tickets are $75. VIP tickets, which include access to a special pre-show reception, early entrance and complimentary food and beverages, will also be available for $500. Those tickets will go on sale at or on May 20th (12pm CDT).


Hailed by NPR as “one of America’s defining voices of freedom and peace,” Staples is the kind of once-in-a-generation artist whose impact on music and culture would be difficult to overstate. She’s both a Blues and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer; a civil rights icon; a GRAMMY Award-winner; a chart-topping soul/gospel/R&B pioneer; a National Arts Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient; and a Kennedy Center honoree. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., performed at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and sang in Barack Obama’s White House. She’s collaborated with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Arcade Fire and Hozier.


Staples will be joined on the bill by Juliana Hatfield, the Chicago Children’s Choir and the Hot Stove All-Stars, featuring Gammons, New York Yankees great Bernie Williams, Ted Leo, Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo), Scott Lucas (Local H), Kelly Hogan, Freda Love Smith, Jennifer Hall, Gerald Dowd, Dag Juhlin (Poi Dog Pondering, Sunshine Boys), Will Dailey and Red Sox organist and Chicago native Josh Kantor, and other performers to be revealed in upcoming weeks. Actor-comedian Joel Murray and WXRT deejay Lin Brehmer will serve as emcees for the event, which will include live and silent auctions featuring music memorabilia and priceless entertainment experiences.

The evening celebrating music, baseball and giving is presented by Google and 93XRT, and sponsored by William Blair, Sloan, Wintrust, Greenberg Traurig, Atlantis Limos, Vienna Beef, the Chicago Trading Company, the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Red Sox, PNC and Athletes on The Move.

Staples, who was inducted into both the Rock and Roll (1999) and Blues (2017) halls of fame, has won three Grammy Awards (13 nominations) and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. The Chicago native began her career with her family band, the Staples Singers, before becoming a solo performer, leading to 13 critically acclaimed albums.

“Mavis Staples is one of the most important and influential voices in the history of American music, and by no means is that hyperbole,” said Gammons, the Baseball Hall of Fame journalist who was a co-founder of Hot Stove Cool Music in 2000. “Her style, her songs and her activism have helped our country maneuver through so many crucial moments and eras, and it’s an honor to have her support our event and the foundation.”

Hot Stove Cool Music is the signature fundraising event for FTBNL. It has raised more than $15 million since the foundation began in 2005. With the belief that a college education has the power to change the trajectory of a family’s life, the FTBNL’s signature program – The Peter Gammons College Scholarship – has invested in more than 200 young people who have overcome challenges and demonstrated a commitment to community service by sending them to the college of their choice. Each Gammons scholar receives a tuition gap scholarship, a mentor, leadership training and a plan for success

FTBNL also supports innovative nonprofit partners in Boston and Chicago that change lives in underserved neighborhoods. To date, more than 400 nonprofits have received millions of dollars in FTBNL grants.

Hot Stove Cool Music was founded in 2000 by Peter Gammons and former Boston Herald sportswriter Horrigan. It is FTBNL’s signature event.  FTBNL CEO Allyce Najimy and music director Ed Valauskas are the driving forces behind the event with a team of dedicated volunteers of artists, sponsors, baseball players and musicians.  HSCM is held in Boston in the winter and in Chicago in the summer. Past headliners include Eddie Vedder, Buddy Guy, James Taylor, Cheap Trick, Liz Phair, Tom Morello, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Common, Yo-Yo Ma, Smashing Pumpkins, Juliana Hatfield, Steven Tyler and the Dropkick Murphys.

FTBNL, a playful nod to the MLB trade term, player to be named later, was launched in 2005 by twin brothers Theo, formerly of Boston Red Sox & Chicago Cubs and Paul Epstein, MSW, to invest in the next generation of diverse leaders through their Peter Gammons College Scholarships and support the nonprofit agencies, working on the front lines, serving youth and families from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Boston & Chicago. Since inception, FTBNL has raised over $13.5 million and donated grants, scholarships, tickets and auction items to over 500 non-profit organizations and has sent 200 Peter Gammons College Scholars, who have overcome tremendous obstacles, have high financial needs and great educational potential to the college of their choice, each with a mentor and plan for success. For more information on visit