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Wednesday, 20 July 2016 05:53

‘Barnstock’ music festival returns for eighth year

Written by  Lee Sullivan

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- A mid-summer north Mecklenburg ritual filled with music, fellowship and a charitable spirit returns to its roots this weekend. The eighth annual Barnstock music festival, a seven-hour show featuring eclectic music presented by dozens of performers on multiple stages, kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 23, at the Brown family farm off Black Farms Road between Huntersville and Davidson.

Initiated as a school service project by brothers Daniel and Miles Brown, the family-fueled foray into philanthropy has evolved and expanded into a can’t-miss combination of music and camaraderie providing financial support for a wide range of service organizations and charities.

Since the first Barnstock in 2009, when 300 friends turned out to hear three bands and help Miles and Daniel raise $2,500 for the Davidson Fire Department, the event has experienced steady, annual growth. Last year, with an organizational network of family members that now includes sister Julia and support from parents Tony and Kathy Brown, Barnstock drew a crowd of around 1,500, featured performances by 24 musical acts and generated $25,000 that was distributed to the Davidson Fire Department, Cannon School and a national fundraising campaign honoring a terminally sick child in Ohio.

In the first seven years of Barnstock, the event has raised $75,000 for a long list of local and national charities and service organizations, including the American Red Cross, the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

This year, according to Miles Brown, the primary benefactors will be the regional organizations Time Out Youth Center, Together We Feed and the Elma C. Lomax Incubator Farm.

The Time Out Youth Center offers support, advocacy and opportunities for personal development and social interaction to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people; Together We Feed focuses on the needs of children living in poverty and helps them identify and reach their full potential; and the Lomax Incubator Farm supports local, organic farming while encouraging a new generation of farmers.

In addition, proceeds from special ticket purchases and contributions will be distributed to various local agencies including A Giving Spirit Foundation, Cannon School, the Davidson Fire Department, Hinds’ Feet Farm and other Barnstock charities.

The expansion and popularity of the event, and the far-reaching impact of its fundraising efforts, tie into the key terms Miles Brown uses to describe Barnstock.

“Growth, awareness and diversity. I think that covers it,” he said. “The event has grown because it’s like a reunion each year and those who have been here tell others about it. It’s also about awareness because we’ve helped people learn more about charities and organizations and how they can help. And diversity has always been a part of this because we celebrate all kinds of music and everybody is welcome.”

Performers at this year’s Barnstock will, once again, specialize in styles from across the musical spectrum. Main Stage acts will include The Movement, Atlas Road Crew, Brody & Choch, Shinobi Ninja, the Nick Moss Band and Porch 40. Acts taking turns on other stages will include Atomic Buzz, Fireball Coma, Lemon Sparks, Paul Mashburn & HC Oakes, White Collar Funk, Chase Forbes, 2 dr Chicken Coupe, Gabriella Torres, Megan Bell & Dakota Bradley, Ode to 31, Alex Merck and Porch Chicken.

Miles Brown said the list of musicians includes new and returning performers, and he emphasized that landing The Movement for Saturday’s show was a big boost for Barnstock. The band, originally from Columbia, S.C., has been popular among reggae fans for more than a decade and the group’s latest album topped the Billboard reggae charts.

Another featured group, Porch 40, touches on the deep-seeded local roots that add to Barnstock’s mystique. The Cullowhee-based funk, jazz and rock band has developed a strong following throughout western North Carolina and beyond, and the guitar and bass player in the six-member band is Carter McDevitt, who used to play pick-up baseball games with Miles Brown and others at the field and barnyard that has become Barnstock’s home.

“It’s just another reminder of how this started,” Brown said, “and how it keeps bringing people back.”

Barnstock is a “bring your own beverage” event open to those of appropriate age. Ticket information and additional details are available at mybarnstock.com.

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