Music fest still seeking sponsors

Music fest still seeking sponsorsMichelle Findley of MeloMania Entertainments performs with Rayband during last year’s festival. — Photo by Laura Austin

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By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Ridgecrest Music Festival, sponsored by MeloMania Entertainments, is scheduled for April 28 at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds. The second annual event features live music from local bands and is a fundraiser for local middle school orchestra programs. Coordinator Michelle Findley says the group is seeking more sponsors.

“Our expenses roughly tripled this year, so I definitely need all the help I can get,” said Findley, who organized the first concert last year. “And we want to donate as much to the kids as we can. But we’re most of the way there, and I know the community will lend the support.”

Findley said despite last year’s challenges – including unexpectedly hot weather and it being a popular travel weekend – the event raised nearly $2,000 to donate to Murray and Monroe Middle Schools’ orchestra programs.

“I got tons of feedback after last year’s event, and I took that advice to make changes this year,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to this year, and I feel great about the changes.”

The one-day event will feature more than a dozen local performance groups and more bands than last year. Headlining the event is local favorite The Sheleighlys. The lineup also includes the Suzuki Strings, Lisa Skrabar, Rayband, Burroughs Jazz Combo, The Whatevers and Alas de Liona.

This year’s performances will also be inside the main hall so listeners can stay out of the heat.

“Being indoors we’ll have more opportunities for light shows and things like that,” said Findley. “And we’ll have an outside speaker so people can still hear while they’re getting food or checking out our vendors.”

In addition to some dozen food and retail vendors, free face painting and other kids’ activities, Findley said, the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall will also be on display.

“I think it’s really great that people can also have a chance to see the wall,” said Findley. “And the Police Explorers will be volunteering, PACT will be volunteering … it’s definitely a community effort.”

Findley started MeloMania Entertainments last year when she decided to pull the trigger on the first music festival. A performer in Rayband, she loves playing music and providing fun opportunities to the community. But her true passion is supporting music programs for local youth.

“The orchestra has been a huge part of my life and changed my life in the best ways,” said Findley. “I grew up where there weren’t a lot of positive influences around me, and playing in the orchestra led me in a different direction in life.”

She said she’s thankful that local students have the opportunity to have music five days a week from quality instructors. She doesn’t want that to go away.

“It’s such a great opportunity and it’s really special,” said Findley. “Sharing music with kids is very special. I know that whatever I can raise will go to good use.

“These teachers are doing amazing things and I’m so grateful to help. Our orchestras are getting superior ratings at festivals and outperforming high schools. But sometimes they have to cram all of the band and orchestra kids and all of their instruments into one bus for trips because the program couldn’t afford two buses.

“With Disneyland trips coming up, I want the kids to get park-hopper tickets. I want them to be able to have all the little things. I want them to love doing music so that down the road they’ll still be playing on stages at festivals.”

Local businesses interested in sponsoring the event can contact Findley at 760-590-2691 or through MeloMania Entertain-ments on Facebook. Sponsors can get free entry to to the event, advertising on T-shirts and the main-stage banner, shout outs between sets and most importantly, a sense of pride in supporting local music education.

“I have to order T-shirts April 11, so I’m asking potential sponsors to contact me by then so we can get their logo on the shirts,” said Findley.

Tickets will be $10 at the gate, and the wristband allows concert goers to come and leave all day. Admission for children 12 and younger is free. For more info, visit MeloMania on Facebook.

Story First Published: 2018-04-06