Daylong concert Saturday at Powers Pavilion
by Sarah Fay Campbell
There will be a full day of music in the great outdoors at the annual Live Oak Music Fest, coming up Saturday at Powers' Pavilion.
The day-long concert is a fundraiser for the Capt. Nicholas Schade Whitlock Foundation, and goes to fund a scholarship for a deserving student at Newnan High School, Whitlock's alma mater.
Performers include Kevin Kinney of Drivin' N' Cryin' and Winfield Smith of Stewart and Winfield, as well as local acts Zedella, Leonard Washington, the Kris Youmans Band, SawDust, and Table 18.
Gates open at 10 a.m. with the first band, Table 18, going on at 11. Headliner Kevin Kenny goes on at 9, preceded by Winfield Smith.
In addition to the music, there will be several food trucks on hand, serving up barbecue, boiled peanuts and funnel cakes, as well as Italian food, jambalaya and Brunswick stew, and a variety of Anheuser Busch products on tap.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of show. Children under 6 are free. VIP tickets include select parking, and private seating including a tent and tables, and a t-shirt, for $100.
Advance tickets can be purchased at www.WhitlockFoundation.com until 5 p.m. on Friday.
The event itself will be cash only, for all food and drinks as well as tickets purchased at the gate. There will be ATMs available.
Air Force Capt. Whitlock, 29, died Feb. 18, 2012 in a plane crash near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa. The aircraft was returning from a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The foundation was formed shortly thereafter by his family and friends.
In addition to the scholarship, "we're going to be working with some other local charities," Rick Barnes Jr. of the Whitlock Foundation. They're also trying to work with charities focused on veterans.
Last fall, the foundation hosted the Hunter 87 Bluegrass Bash at the Coweta Veteran's Club. It was a great success. "We had a lot of people show up," Barnes said. They knew if they wanted to make this year's event even bigger, they would need a new venue. "We got with the Powers' people and it kind of worked out where it was mutually beneficial," Barnes said. The venue can hold up to 10,000 people, though they are hoping for around 600 to 700.
The expansive venue means they can grow the festival each year. "The main goal was just to come up with a community event, something that is maybe unique, something that not every single charity does, something that people can kind of look forward to and put on the calendar and we can do every year," Barnes said.
"It's been a lot of work. We've got a lot of great people working on it… it's going to pay off," he said.
The first year is a way to "ease into it and kind of test the waters" to see if they can draw a large-enough crowd to justify bringing in even more big-name bands next year. "We were extremely happy to get Kevin Kenny," Barnes said. And if the festival is a success "there is no reason… that we can't get somebody else that might bring 8,000 to 10,000 people out there."
There are five or six people working on the festival full time as well as a lot of volunteers help out. "None of us have really any professional experience in doing something like this," Barnes said, but they've gotten a lot of help from Mark Turnham at Powers, who does.
"It has been a lot of trial and error," Barnes said but "it has worked out really well because we have a lot of support within the community."
For more information, visit www.WhitlockFoundation.com . Powers Pavilion is located off Hwy. 34 West/Franklin Highway at the Coweta/Heard county line.