Music fest seeks additional sponsors

Annual concert raises funds for music education

Music fest seeks additional sponsorsA fire spinner performs at last year’s music festival, which raised thousands for local music programs — Photo by Laura Austin

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By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

“There’s something special and magical about music, that’s why I do this,” said MeloMania Entertainments founder Michelle Findley, who is organizing the third annual Ridgecrest Music Festival April 13 at the Desert Empire Fairgrounds.

The annual event raises money for the Monroe and Murray middle school orchestra programs, and Findley was able to donate more than $2,000 after last year’s effort. This year she hopes to top it.

“Music is just such a huge part of my life,” said Findley, a regular at the Historical Society’s Open Mic Night who fronts her own band and plays bass with the Desert Community Orchestra. “I remember when I was 11 years old and the school counselors came in and said we had to choose an elective for junior high. When they said I could be in the orchestra, I just thought even then, ‘Whoa, what a huge opportunity.’

“Five days a week having a musician teach you how to play and teach you how to read music — I wish I still got that as an adult. It’s amazing.”

Now Findley’s three children are all experiencing various stages of local music education. All of her children take lessons from local teacher Carol Sue McKenzie. Oldest daughter Nicole plays violin with her in the DCOA, her middle child Shannon plays cello in the Murray Middle School Orchestra and her youngest – Kenny – is learning violin, percussion and ukulele.

But as the festival approaches, Findley is still seeking local sponsors to offset the cost of putting on the event.

“Sponsors have been coming in at the nick of time for me to be able to cover expenses,” she said. “But I like to have everything paid for before opening the doors Saturday morning. That way we can donate as much as possible to the students.”

MeloMania is offering bronze to platinum sponsorship packages (ranging from $100 to $3,000) which include stage shoutouts, social media recognition, business names and logos on banners and T-shirts, and of course the satisfaction of supporting local music education.

“We have the best music teachers in Ridgecrest,” said Findley. “And each year their funding is more limited. If we can give them more, then they can do so much more with our youth.”

As for the event itself, festival goers can enjoy live local music from 11 a.m. to midnight and Findley says there’s “something for everyone.”

“We have so much variety this year, I’m so excited. We have jazz, blues, country, rock, rap and there’s a high-school band of some very, very talented musicians. And they’re pretty heavy.”

The high-school band “Make Children Cry” is made up of several Burroughs students who provided the music for the school’s rock musical “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” last year.

Headlining the Music Fest will be local groups “Love and War,” “Six Feet Over,” “Zeddicus,” Treacherous Edges,” Findley’s “Rayband,” “Homewood” and the Burroughs Jazz Ensemble.

The two middle-school orchestras are also combining as one of the opening acts. Their set will include a special-guest violinist Clare Olinger Hatter, another homegrown musician, who is fresh off of a sold-out performance at the Walt Disney Concert Hall as a performer with the American Youth Symphony.

The full line-up and schedule are available on Ridgecrest’s 3rd Annual Music Festival Facebook event page.

“We have a lot more full bands this year, which is great,” said Findley. “It’s definitely growing.”

The music will be indoors, but there are outdoor activities as well — bounce houses (both wet and dry), a dunk tank, fire spinners and the Going-So-Low Car Club will have their tricked-out rides on display.

“I want to remind kids to bring their swimsuits and towels for the fun water activities. People can also bring their tents or even RVs to camp overnight if they want to stay for the whole event.”

Findley said that while RVs are welcome, they won’t be able to hook up to amenities unless otherwise arranged with the neighboring RV park.

Vendors include Fury’s Sports Bar, Ephen Tacos, Rosie’s Crepes, LuLaRoe, Paparazzi and more.

Tickets are $10 each for the whole day and are available at Red Rock Books, Symphony in Ink, Ephen Tacos and the door. Children 12 and younger receive free entry. For more information, find MeloMania Entertainments on Facebook.

Story First Published: 2019-04-05