Live Oak Music Festival honors Whitlock

by Sarah Fay Campbell

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Zedella performs early in the evening at the Live Oak Music Fest.

Saturday was a chilly day — and night — for an outdoor concert, but that didn't stop an enthusiastic crowd from enjoying the inaugural Live Oak Music Fest.

The daylong concert, held at Powers Pavilion in west Coweta, was a fundraiser for the Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock Foundation. Proceeds from the event go to fund a scholarship for a deserving Newnan High School student.

The Capt. Nicholas S. Whitlock Foundation was formed to honor Air Force Capt. Whitlock, who was killed Feb. 18, 2012, along with three comrades, in an aircraft crash near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa. They were returning from a mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

As the sun went down Saturday, temperatures dropped into the 40s. But headliner Kevn Kinney warmed up the crowd with a sizzling show, playing Drivin' N Cryin' favorites such as "Straight to Hell," "Honeysuckle Blue" and "Fly Me Courageous" as well as his solo songs.

It was deemed a good crowd for the first year of the festival. "There are a lot of people here, it's just spread out," said James Whitlock, brother of Nick Whitlock.

The event couldn't have happened without the work of a lot of volunteers. And there are also "all the people who have been loyal to the cause, and the community as a whole has been amazing," said Matt Kuehl, a friend of Whitlock's. Kuehl, who played baseball with Nick, said he and his wife, Rachel, are "humbled to be involved" in an opportunity "to serve, to give back to such a great man."

He said they're excited with what the foundation has done so far "and the momentum we have been able to establish for the future.

"It's a real good start. We're excited to see it grow," Kuehl said. In planning things for the foundation "we try to do events Nick would have enjoyed," he said.

Other performers included Winfield & Boys from Stewart and Winfield, and local bands Zedella, Leonard Washington, SawDust, the Kris Youmans Band and Table 18.

A post on the foundation's Facebook page thanked everyone who turned out. "The event was a great success, and we truly appreciate all of the work of the volunteers, the food prepared by the vendors and the musical performance by the talented bands," the post read, and invited attendees to post their photos of the event.

James and Chastity Dodelin, Leigh Anne Dodelin and Adam Hurst were enjoying the day. "It's a great event for a good cause," said Leigh Anne.

Ana Edge and Rachel Kuehl were selling t-shirts for the event. There are plenty left over for those who couldn't make it to the show. Shirts are $12 each, or $15 shipped. For more information visit the Live Oak Music Fest page on Facebook, or www.whitlockfoundation.com .



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