Cambridge Officially Declares May 8 ‘Keytar Bear Day’

Perhaps no costume-clad performer has ever felt love like this before.

Let it be known across the lands (or at least the shores surrounding the Charles River) that May 8 is now officially known as “Keytar Bear Day” in Cambridge.

The designation of such a day is the culmination of what just may be the most bizarre tale of crime, and a community’s ability to come together and show support for a complete stranger in a bear costume that plays a musical instrument from the 1980s.

On Thursday night, hundreds of people packed together, shoulder-to-shoulder, at the Middle East to celebrate the man behind the Keytar Bear suit during a special benefit and fundraiser in his name. The event was organized by fans of the musician after he was allegedly assaulted on two separate occasions while performing in public last month.

During the show at the Middle East, an event organized by Abby Taylor, an employee at Workbar in Central Square who felt compelled to help Keytar Bear when she learned he was attacked, Cambridge officials took the gathering to the next level and declared that May 8 will now be officially known as “Keytar Bear and Abby Taylor Day.”

In a proclamation signed by City Councilor Leland Cheung, and presented on stage during the fundraiser, the elected official thanked Keytar Bear and Taylor for their service and for bringing people under one roof, and urged event attendees to snap a selfie with the musician before he hibernates for the summer.

“I am in awe right now. The entire night felt like a celebration of music, community, and love. I met so many people who were feeling so inspired by this story and had stories to share about Keytar Bear and other street artists. It’s not every day that the citizens of Boston get to show how much we appreciate our artists by giving back to them,” Taylor said. “Keytar Bear has become a symbol of what Boston is really about, a town that supports the creative, positive energy of the people that inhabit it.”

The whole thing was a fitting ending to a saga that piqued the interest of nearly every news publication in the area, never mind the general public. “This was such a beautiful event! Mad props to the organizers, major solidarity to Keytar Bear,” one person said, following the concert.

The first assault on the bear last month led to a broken instrument, and the second a broken nose. The attacks sent residents from all over the Boston area—who enjoy Keytar Bear’s work as they shuffle through the city—into a flurry of rage.

When word got out that he would be taking some time off to heal, people stepped up and started organizing efforts to raise money to offset the cost for both his medical bills and instrument. Donations started pouring in online, capping out at more than $5,000, and fans even offered the musical performer new keytars to use while busking in Boston and Cambridge.

All of this led to the fundraising event at the Middle East in Cambridge Thursday night, where swarms of followers turned up to watch Keytar Bear play on stage in what was a visual representation of how random acts of kindness can band people together to make things right, even if the cause is centered around an unlikely character. “I wanted to put a smile back on Keytar Bear’s face for giving all of us so many smiles for so long,” Taylor said. “I can’t show you a picture, but I assure you, there was a smile on his face under the bear mask all night long.”

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