By Nikki Hedrick
Casey Kearney has made a big splash in the area music scene. Not only is she garnering regular gigs, she created the Bands of 30A to facilitate quarterly charity music festivals.
Kearney resides in Holt, a small town in Okaloosa County west of Crestview. The thirty-something mother of three places importance on going after her goals while establishing a home life balance.
“I play as much as I can with three kids,” says Kearney. “I don’t want to miss their lives, but I want to play music.”
She got her start in church singing as part of the choir, and things began to fall into place when her sister’s Christmas gift caught her eye. “I was in my 20s, and my sister had gotten a pink electric glitter guitar for Christmas and she was totally not into it. I was like, ‘Can I have that?’ I bought it from her and, truly, that’s what made me want to learn to play guitar, that pink glitter guitar. I had to learn how to play it.”
As Kearney began to lean on the outlet of songwriting, she found a new hurdle—overcoming stage fright. It seems to be a reoccurring aspect of Kearney’s music career, her tenacious attitude towards her goals and not letting anything discourage her.
Only in the past year has Kearney set her sights on regular gigs. “I was kind of in and out (of performing), but when I finally committed to it, it was now or never,” she says. “I’m only getting older, and I’m either going to take this seriously and do what I do…or not. The area is so abundant with music opportunities that I may as well do it. I may as well play.”
When it came to Bands of 30A, Kearney drew from her past career as a wedding and event planner to forge the new brand. But the idea began with a single conversation. “I was talking to my mom one day in the middle of the Hurricane Harvey stuff, and she said, ‘Y’all have so many people that go to 30A, you should put a concert together as a charity.’ It was just a little conversation, but I started texting people, and a week later we had a concert.”
The team that fell into place includes April Roach from iPROMOTEu and Crystal Smith from 30A Event Planning.
“Originally, (we were) going to come together to do a storm relief concert and just raise some money. At the time there had only been Hurricane Harvey, and then before the concert happened, Irma hit. So it ended up being a combo thing,” says Kearney. “There was so much great response from it, the bands had so much fun and the people did, too. We realized we could totally do this for different charities all the time. We decided to make Bands of 30A its own organization.”
The aim of Bands of 30A is to host events quarterly (March, June, September, and December) at different South Walton venues benefiting a different charity at each event. The debut event was in Gulf Place, while the Dec. 17 event at Seaside will benefit Food for Thought Outreach, Inc.
That doesn’t mean that Kearney’s music goals will be put on the back burner. She plans to follow up her debut EP Faster with some new singles in early 2018. She also has her eyes on some larger dreams. “I want to play the Grand Ole Opry someday—just one time—and I want to play the Bluebird.”