It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in October. The Gulley Amphitheater at Gulf Place was full of love and hope. Locals and visitors to 30A gathered to enjoy a day of music, food and football, but above all else to help our neighbors affected so greatly by Hurricane Michael.
Bands of 30A began last year with a heart to help those in Texas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Since that time, Bands of 30A has held several charity concerts raising over $30,000 for various local charities, including Westonwood Ranch, Special Olympics of Walton County, and Food for Thought.
This charity concert exceeded everyone’s expectations. “Having a storm of this magnitude hit so close to home and has been extremely emotional for us. We all live just a few miles east of where the storm hit. We realize it could have been us. There was no question that we had to do all that we could to help,” said Bands of 30A president Casey Kearney.
April Roach, Bands of 30A vice-president, was vigilant in reaching out to sponsors for the event. “Our community has been so generous. People wanted an opportunity to help, and Bands of 30A was able to give them just that. When going out to find sponsors for this concert, everything changed. It was heartfelt stories, personal and emotional connections. It was the lives of so many being touched by our neighbors’ devastation.”
Concertgoers were asked to make a $10 donation for full-day access. The lineup of talent included Max Soelzer Band and a songwriters round featuring Luke Langford, Jessie Ritter and Casey Kearney.
Will Thompson proved to be a crowd favorite and received a standing ovation. Mr. Thompson is a resident of the Panama City area and experienced extensive damage to his personal home. He welcomed the chance to play.
The Wildlife Specials, Rust and Gold (a Neil Young tribute band), Beachcomber Music Awards Hall of Famers Cadillac Willy, and Baton Rouge’s Cumberland County all graced the stage to support the relief efforts. ShoFar Stage Productions provided the sound, and it went off without a hitch.
Bands of 30A secretary and event coordinator Crystal Smith said, “We wanted to directly help the displaced children. We (Casey, April and myself) all have children, so this was a main concern of ours as a whole. So many children not only lost their home but their churches and schools as well. They lost their sense of normalcy. We have been working closely with school district officials to make sure we are able to meet the needs of these children first.”
– Casey Kearney
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