Haden DeRoberts, a crusader in raising awareness about leukemia, as well as bone marrow registration. DeRoberts also founded Folkfest, a backyard music festival that lives on today. Saturday, February 3 will mark the second annual Haden DeRoberts Memorial Rumpus at Woodlands Tavern in Columbus, OH. (

2nd Annual Haden DeRoberts Memorial Rumpus Set for Feb. 3

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On December 4, 2016 former OU student Haden DeRoberts died tragically from leukemia. During his five-year battle with the disease, Haden fought tirelessly to raise awareness for bone marrow registration while cultivating and supporting the Athens local music scene.

On Saturday, February 3 there will be a celebration for Haden at Woodlands Tavern in Columbus, OH. Doors will open at 8 p.m., with music beginning at 9 p.m. There will be a $5 suggested donation at the door, and the whole affair is being called the 2nd Annual Haden DeRoberts Memorial Rumpus. The event is intended to commemorate the life and work of former OU student Haden DeRoberts. The event will promote local bands and encourage bone marrow registration, as well as donations to the Haden DeRoberts fund.

DeRoberts was known around the Athens music scene for his spirit in supporting local bands and his mantra to “get people swabbed.” Combining his love for music and DIY, Haden began organizing shows around Athens all while encouraging people to be registered bone marrow donors.

“At the end of the day he just wanted to help people,” said Mitch Rossiter, friend of Haden’s from the Athens music scene.

Haden would set up tents at his house shows and music festivals to encourage people to become donors: the process was simple, all you had to do was get your cheek swabbed. Through this, Haden was able to raise awareness and create a community of people to support the cause.

While at OU, he created Folk Fest, a backyard music festival supporting handfuls of local bands and spreading the word for registration. Folk Fest lives on, and Haden’s legacy has not been forgotten.

After hearing about his death in 2016, it was only natural that Haden’s music friends took action.

“A couple of friends and I from school came together and decided we had to do something,” said Rossiter. “The only reason I ever really met and knew Haden was through putting on shows, so I thought ‘hey wouldn’t it be cool if we did a big benefit show where we can keep up the mantra of ‘get swabbed?'”

Alongside Alexa Gainer, another friend of Haden’s from OU, the two created the First Annual Memorial Rumpus last year in Columbus. The show was a huge success. With lines out the door and nearly $3,000 raised, they decided to create another benefit this year.

This year’s bands include Gus and the TV, The Crooked Spines, Speaking Suns, and Gaptooth Grin. Each band has a connection to Haden, whether it be from OU, childhood, or Folk Fest.

“We wanted artists that knew Haden and are for the cause,” said Rossiter.

All proceeds will go to the Haden DeRoberts fund to fight leukemia.