On Saturday, May 30th, over 70 artists and thousands of fans came together for Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival that raised money for a litany of charities via the comprehensive PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The 15-hour livestream marathon featured new contributions by an array of amazing artists from around the world. It was a lot to take in and you surely missed at least a few of the many performers, so we’ll be rolling out the individual segments over the next few weeks to highlight each of the individual performances.

When the schedule for Quarantine Comes Alive came out, some fans were puzzled to see avant-garde jazz keyboard master John Medeski in the 3:00 a.m. ET time block alongside electronic-leaning artists like GoldFish and Anomalie. When the set aired late in the night, however, fans quickly understood the time slot. Medeski’s performance of “Portrait of Zippy” quickly set an experimental tone from its first bass synth rumbles. Jumping back and forth between a stack of organs and synths, Medeski took the streaming audience on an expedition to the furthest, weirdest corners of their consciousness with help from some post-production animation. Recorded at Applehead Recording in Woodstock, NY, the video featured a drum template created by Medeski and the Woodstock Sessions team with which Medeski played along in real-time.

As Medeski explains of the composition, “Portrait of Zippy is a musical impression of Schlitzie featured in the 1932 movie Freaks and the inspiration for the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead. He was a circus performer for decades who never mentally developed beyond a 3-year-old and was left in a hospital to die by his handlers’ daughter after they died in the ’60s. Fortunately, a member of the circus (apparently a sword swallower) rescued him and got him out to perform again in LA. His life and spirit touched the hearts of many people and made an impact on pop culture offering a hopeful message.”

If you enjoyed the performance, John asks that you make a donation to Rise Up Kingston, a grassroots organization dedicated to dismantling the structures of racism and oppression. Watch John Medeski perform “Portrait of Zippy” for Quarantine Comes Alive below:

John Medeski – “Portrait of Zippy” – Quarantine Comes Alive

Presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with PLUS1 and Nugs.TV, Quarantine Comes Alive was conceived as a way to celebrate and support musicians, provide fans with unique musical experiences from the comfort of their couches, and raise money for comprehensive COVID-19 relief during this time of uncertainty. The $160k+ in donations raised from the event will be split evenly between the artists on the bill and the PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund, which works directly with leading non-profit organizations like Sweet ReliefMusiCaresCenter for Disaster PhilanthropyWorld Central KitchenPartners In HealthTrans Lifeline, and Backline to provide aid where it’s needed most. For more information, head here.