The 9th Annual Smithfield Music's Aiken & Friends Fest not only brings great music to this historic coastal Virginia town, but provides one-of-a-kind educational workshops targeted to independent artists, musicians and songwriters as well. A charitable endeavor, the Fest, which runs October 3-4, benefits youth music education for local area students. To date the annual event has raised over $40,000, with the money used to fund scholarships, provide tutors for gifted children and purchase instruments for Isle of Wight school students.
"It is immensely gratifying to see our efforts manifest," notes Fest founder, performer and workshop host Mike Aiken. "This year, one of our performers happens to be a talented singer/songwriter who attended my songwriting workshop last year."
The performer in question, Mollie Taylor, came for that workshop, took notes and, as Mike recalls, asked "great" questions. Her attention to detail paid off, and this year she was added to the line-up by the entertainment committee from over 2100 applicants. "We are drawing the young, the talented and the motivated; those eager to develop their skills," observes Amy Aiken, Fest organizer. "Our goal is to have each individual leave a workshop excited and empowered about their music."
This year, Smithfield Music's Aiken & Friends Fest features the following workshops on Saturday, October 4 at Windsor Castle Park.
This ever-growing Festival would not be complete without a stellar entertainment line-up and this year is no exception. Performing are Fest founder and Northwind Records' artist Mike Aiken, talented singer/songwriter Tim Buppert (Trisha Yearwood, Billy Ray Cyrus, Mike Aiken), Washington Area Music Association award-winning entertainer Patty Reese (2009 Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year), Folk/Rock/Americana duo Moors & McCumber, American Soul-inspired Caleb Hawley Band, popular Piedmont stylists M.S.G. Acoustic Blues Trio, area favorites Snuff Trio (featuring Chuck Larson, Norman Harrell & Robbie House), Mississippi native and Southern/Soul singer/songwriter Adrian Dickey, 16-year-old sensation Evan Button, the Mike Aiken Band, and local teen songstress Mollie Taylor. Also appearing will be three songwriters who will compete for their stage slots via Fest open-mic nights scheduled throughout September.
Smithfield Music's Aiken & Friends Fest offers music lovers a chance to gather and enjoy historic Smithfield's convivial atmosphere, along with great local food and diverse artisan vendors.
Weekend Pass $35 - all events, concerts, workshops
Songwriters-in-the-Round (Friday only) $25
Saturday All Day - Field Pass $20 advance, $25 day of show (12 & under FREE with paying adult)
RAFFLE TICKETS will be available for purchase both days, with the drawing held on Saturday. Among the prizes to be awarded is a Takamine guitar, donated by the manufacturer.
Smithfield Music's Jim Abicht reminds fans, "Attendees get to hear great music in a friendly Southern town with the bonus of raising funds for an extremely worthy cause." Area sponsors are lining up to support the event, and include: Smithfield Foods, Smithfield Music, Smithfield Little Theatre, Smithfield/Isle of Wight Tourism, and Northwind Records.
Click HERE for more information on the Fest.