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Thursday, 12 July 2012 07:31

Farm-raised philanthropy grows along with BarnStock

Written by  Lee Sullivan
Organizers Daniel and Miles Brown (seated from left) with representatives of BarnStock bands Chasing Pedestrians and The Business People, from left, Steven Gilmore, James Davis, Jack Schulte, Jeff Hymes, Anthony Pugliese and William Schoonmaker. Organizers Daniel and Miles Brown (seated from left) with representatives of BarnStock bands Chasing Pedestrians and The Business People, from left, Steven Gilmore, James Davis, Jack Schulte, Jeff Hymes, Anthony Pugliese and William Schoonmaker. Staff
Annual benefit  concert in Huntersville attracts national act Donna the Buffalo, adds camping, volleyball and charities.

 On the MyBarnstock website providing details about the annual benefit concert to be held the last weekend in July, a few words beneath the logo say it all: "music, community service, good times."

This week, as Miles Brown, BarnStock's founder and executive producer, and his brother Daniel, the event's director of operations, gathered with a few musicians on stage at the four-acre venue off Black FarmsRoad just outside Huntersville, those terms were repeated often as the organizers and some of those slated to perform emphasized the enduring roots of a high school hoedown that in only four years has emerged as a can't-miss rite of summer for teenagers and adults from the Lake Norman area and beyond.

This year's event — the biggest yet — expands to two days, features 23 bands, 24 hours of music, food and beverages, the option of overnight camping, a benefit volleyball tournament and a Friday night headline performance by the nationally acclaimed, rock-roots band Donna the Buffalo (see this page for details). Organizers expect attendance to soar — perhaps tripling previous turnout and surpassing 1,000 each day during the noon to midnight schedule — and a new charitable foundation is in place to funnel every penny raised to five area institutions and a local college student facing a medical hardship.

Not a bad mid-summer achievement for a couple of civic-minded 20-somethings and their mostly college-aged collection of friends, supporters and performers.


Miles Brown, 20, founded BarnStock in 2009 with the help of friends and family members. His goal was to host a fun musical gathering for the vast collection of young musicians in the north Mecklenburg area while raising funds to donate to the Davidson Fire Department.

Out of the barn

A user’s guide to Barnstock

2012 BarnStock will be held July 27-28 at 15305 Black FarmsRoad off N.C. 73 in eastern Huntersville. For information about all aspects of BarnStock 2012, visit www.mybarnstock.com.

 • Friday, July 27: Ages 18 and older. Tickets for the noon-to-midnight show cost $25. Bands set to perform, in order of scheduled appearance, are True Life, Something Clever, Golden Boy, Morning Brigade, Weaker Captain, BlueFiveOne, The Brett Morton Project, The Rusty Knox Band, Billy Jones and the Pocket, and Donna the Buffalo 

• Saturday, July 28: Ages 15 and older. Tickets for the noon-to-midnight show cost $5. Bands set to perform, in order of scheduled appearance, include Atlas Road Crew, D&D Sluggers, Keaton Lange, The Business People, Vanished Frontier, The Local Traumatic, War Hands, Sugar Glyder, Shinobi Ninja, Chasing Pedestrians, Brody and Choch, and MasterJaxx.

Saturday, July 28: Ages 15 and older. Tickets for the noon-to-midnight show cost $5. Bands set to perform, in order of scheduled appearance, include Atlas Road Crew, D&D Sluggers, Keaton Lange, The Business People, Vanished Frontier, The Local Traumatic, War Hands, Sugar Glyder, Shinobi Ninja, Chasing Pedestrians, Brody and Choch, and MasterJaxx.
 
• Camping: Onsite camping will be available Thursday and Friday night ($65) or just Friday night ($45), and fees will include admission to all performances. There are no electrical or utility hookups for campers. Camper wristbands will be issued to those 21 or older only.

"We grew up living beside the fire chief and wanted to do something for the fire department," Miles says. "At Cannon School, where Daniel and I went, one of the things stressed was community service, so we started this as a service project."

From that 2009 afternoon gathering of friends and musicians, BarnStock grew, expanding each year as performers and audience members spread the word about the music and festival atmosphere radiating from the old barn across the grassy field where the Brown brothers and friends played during their younger days.

In the first three years, BarnStock contributed more than $12,000 to the Davidson Fire Department, and growing attendance fueled the need to build an outdoor stage adjacent to the barn.

The continued success and popularity of the event convinced Miles, Daniel and their sister Julia to reach even higher. In planning for this year's expanded format, they created the BarnStock Charities Fund in honor of their mother, Kathy Brown.

Kathy volunteers regularly at the Second Harvest Food Bank and that organization, along with Hough High School, Cannon School and The American Red Cross, will join the DFD in receiving funds raised at this year's festival. Hough, Julia's school, Cannon, where the brothers attended, and the food bank were natural additions to the Browns list of beneficiaries, and including the Red Cross is an indication of what Miles wants BarnStock to become.

"I want this to keep growing," Miles says, "and contributing to a national organization seems like a good way to send that message."

The addition of big-name group Donna the Buffalo, scheduled as the closing act on the festival's first day, and the overwhelming participation in Facebook-based voting that determined what other bands would be on this year's expanded playbill, are also signs that BarnStock's reputation is expanding. And the commitment to the event illustrated by returning performers shows that while it grows, its roots remain strong.

"All year, wherever we go, we're telling people about BarnStock," says Steven Gilmore, a member of Chasing Pedestrians, a locally based BarnStock favorite. "It's something we really look forward to," adds James Davis, also of Chasing Pedestrians.

 

Daniel Brown, 22, says that kind of connection to bands and fans has played a big role in enhancing BarnStock's appeal.

"We've been really good at bringing back some of these great bands every year," he says, "and fortunate that those bands and their fans have spread the word.

And Anthony Pugliese, a member of the Charlotte-based band The Business People, fresh off appearances in Brooklyn, confirms that BarnStock is becoming well known and believes by sticking with the original goals of helping the community while providing a diverse selection of music in a great setting, BarnStock has surpassed many other similar events.


"The thing about this show is that it is a local music festival that people care about and look forward to," Pugliese says. "There are a lot of events out there where people just try to capitalize on the popularity of local bands and throw something together, but this one is really growing."

And while the growth of BarnStock's music and good times is undeniable, the caring and community service characteristics are taking on a new dimension this year. While the bands play on Saturday, July 28, a benefit volleyball tournament will be held on a sandy court not far from the BarnStock stage. All proceeds will be used to help Queens College volleyball player Ashley Winters in her battle against Hodgkins lymphoma (see box).

That says it all.

1 comment

  • Comment Link guest Thursday, 12 July 2012 16:39 posted by guest

    What a cool festival! I hope they have a good turnout this year!

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