Benefit concert to honor Westport's 'hometown rock star'

WESTPORT — The Levitt Pavilion will honor one of the town’s most accomplished musicians next Saturday.

On July 6 at 7 p.m., the Pavilion will host the Charlie Karp Memorial Concert. Karp attended Staples High School and had a professional career that stretched nearly 50 years, playing alongside Buddy Miles, Keith Richards and more.

Karp died on March 10 after a long illness. His sister, Alice Karp, said the upcoming concert event will be a celebration of Charlie’s life and music.

After Charlie passed, some of his friends started the Charlie Karp Memorial Fund to give scholarships out to young up-and-coming musicians. Alice said the fund follows her brother’s humanitarian efforts to always give back.

“Charlie was always teaching people,” she said. “He was always trying to be beneficial.”

The concert will be a fun family event for attendees and also helps this good cause, Alice said. Proceeds from the concert will go toward the Charlie Karp Memorial Fund and the Levitt Pavilion’s Charlie Karp Tribute Fund. Tickets can be purchased at and all sales are final.

Alice said her brother’s legacy will always be connected to his passion for music.

“He went through the high times and low times, but he never wavered in his intention of bringing music to the world,” she said.

Even at a young age his passion for music was evident. Alice said Charlie’s guitar became akin to his twin at a young age.

“He would have a full-blown conversation with you while he was playing,” she recalled. “He never put it down once he picked it up.”

His influences ranged from blues to heart-felt ballads, she said, and even at 19 he could stand side-by-side with the best musicians.

“He just spanned the globe of different types of music,” Alice said of her brother’s talents.

Brian Keane, an Emmy Award-winning film and television composer who attended Coleytown Junior High School with Charlie, will produce the event.

Over the years, Charlie played for many benefits and always made sure to help out his hometown, Keane said.

“He used his early stardom to benefit Westport,” he said. “He was Westport’s hometown rock star.”

Barry Tashian, a member of the 1960s rock group The Remains, will be one of many performers to honor Charlie’s legacy.

“These were the two biggest rock stars of Westport and from that era,” Keane said.

The concert will also feature original members of the Buddy Miles Band, White Chocolate, Dirty Angles, The Name Droppers, Good News Gospel Choir and more. Many of the musicians that will perform had personal connections with Charlie.

“I don’t think there’s ever been as big a concert there in terms of live music,” he said, adding the concert will be filmed and placed online sometime in the future.

Alice said they hope to continue hosting concerts to celebrate her brother’s legacy for years to come.

“He had so many students,” she said. “He had so many people he worked with. So many people have done his music and he’s done their music. We’re going to try and keep it going.”