*This story first appeared in The Budget’s July 11, 2018, Local Edition.
By Stacey Carmany
Area nonprofits, performers and sponsors are being sought for a special event being planned for next summer to celebrate the giving spirit of Tuscarawas County.
Peace & Music Fest is a one-day community festival designed to raise awareness and funds for area nonprofits and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Woodstock music festival.
The event is being headed up by Laurel Quillen of WJER Radio and was born from a desire to do more to contribute to the success of the area’s nonprofit organizations.
“A big part of what we do is community news, so we get a lot of this information about various area nonprofit groups who are trying to raise funds or raise awareness, and we share that information with the public,” she explained. “There are just so many wonderful causes, and I kept thinking, ‘I would like to do more for these people.’”
With only so many hours in the day and so many dollars in the wallet, Quillen began thinking how great it would be to do something for everyone at the same time.
After sharing her vision with friends and colleagues, Quillen learned that the summer of 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the legendary music festival in upstate New York and settled on the idea of hosting a similar event in Tuscarawas County.
“I thought that would sort of capture the spirit of the generosity of the valley because our residents give so much back to our community,” she shared. “I thought Woodstock sort of captures that love and that generosity and that general spirit, so I thought that might be a good time to do it.”
The day-long event is tentatively scheduled for August 10, 2019, at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds, and will feature a nonprofit showcase, food and craft vendors, and, of course, plenty of live music. “I had a lot of suggestions from different people about different bands that I should hire from all over the state, different tribute bands that do the sort of music that was at Woodstock, Janis Joplin tributes or what have you, but I really wanted to keep things local,” Quillen explained. “We have so many talented musicians right here in Tuscarawas County, so I thought I’d really prefer to highlight them rather than bring people from outside. We’re trying to keep everything as hometown as possible and celebrate Tuscarawas County.”
While the official lineup hasn’t yet been confirmed, Quillen noted that several local acts have already agreed to perform for free. “That’s fabulous, and it helps us tremendously,” she said. “I don’t know if everyone will be that generous. We may have to pay for some of the bands.”
Area nonprofits are currently being sought to participate in the event and can register at no cost. “They’re invited to come in and be a vendor, or run maybe a little game or do a raffle or whatever it is they would like to do to raise funds for their group, their project,” Quillen said. “That will be free. They will just come in and whatever money they raise they get to keep.”
Although the event is still more than a year away, Quillen said she wanted to get the word about the festival out early to give nonprofits some time to think about how they would like to participate. “I really don’t want to approach nonprofit groups and say, ‘Hey, next week, we’re hosting this really great event,’ and they say, ‘Oh if only we had time to plan,’” she said. “Getting the word out now, people can think about it and say, ‘Hey, what should we do? What’s in our budget?’ and come up with some creative ideas.”
Commercial vendors are also being invited to participate for a nominal fee that will help cover the minimum of $10,000 needed to cover general expenses including site rental, electricity, insurance and performers’ fees. “All those little things add up,” Quillen said. “Unlike the original Woodstock, we hope to be prepared for the crowds that we have, so we will have toilet facilities and all of those good things.”
For more info and updates, visit the event’s Facebook page – @PeaceMusicFest2019 or call Quillen at 330- 343-7755.