Fatso’s XL Bar and Grill hosts ‘United With Ukraine’ benefit concert

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GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — Benefit concerts in support of Ukraine are happening nationwide. Locally, "United With Ukraine" rocked out at Fatsos XL Bar and Grill in Gates Tuesday night.

The headliner of the show, Eastman graduate and Ukrainian musician Kostia Lukyniuk performed virtually.

The bar was packed with people who bought t-shirts, Ukraine flag keychains, and more to support the country. Kostia went back to Ukraine shortly before Russia’s invasion so he couldn’t perform in person, but he still brought down the house.

Lukyniuk, known in Rochester as "Kostia Violin" didn’t disappoint with his musical talent. Event organizers say Kostia is one of a kind.

"Originally, the event was supposed to help raise money for him because so many people love him, he denied the money and said ‘No I want to help out, this money will go to my people,’” Amanda Piccarreto said.

Piccarreto and Austin Turner created the event to help Kostia, who they consider a dear friend. Turner said he’s not surprised that Kostia declined the monetary help.

"That’s just how Kostia is, he’s the sweetest guy and he just wants to inspire people with his music and we love that about him,” Turner told News10NBC.

There were about nine live performers, every act with a different tune. Internet service wasn’t strong enough to keep Kostia online for long, so he had prerecorded sets. When he had a minute to jump on and quickly say hello, he was overjoyed by how many people showed up.

Piccarreto said the musical notes coming off of Kostia’s violin have touched so many people. Kostia said he may not be a soldier but he’s fighting the war.

"I believe the exact quote he said was "I’m not good with a rifle, but I can play the violin.” He’s been using that violin to bring peace to school children over there, he’s using the tools he has to spread love and peace,” Piccarreto added.

All the proceeds from the event will go to Ukraine. Piccarreto tells us Kostia is helping decide where the money goes as he continues to spread all the love he can in his country.