Rhythm & Roots Partners with Local Food Bank
Ticket Discount in Exchange for Food
By DAVID McGEE | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER | June 09, 2009BRISTOL, TN/VA – A new promotion for the Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival is designed to stock the shelves of a local food bank.
During June, the festival will make a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee, or give advance ticket-buyers a discount if they provide nonperishable foods, festival Executive Director Leah Ross said during a news conference Friday.
"The community gives so much to Rhythm & Roots, we thought why can't we give something back to the community," Ross said. "We wanted to help Second Harvest Food Bank and that's when we came up with Cans for a Cause."
The festival will donate $5 for every $40 weekend pass sold online in June, Ross said. In addition, anyone who donates at least five cans of nonperishable food during June, in conjunction with buying a $40 weekend ticket, will receive a $5 discount, Ross said.
If a buyer doesn't donate food, the festival will donate $5 to the food bank from each weekend ticket sold.
"This couldn't come at a better time," said Rhonda Chafin, executive director of Second Harvest. "Our need is greater now than it has ever been and summer is a time when children are out of school and can't take advantage of free breakfast and lunch at school."
The food bank serves about 30,000 people in eight Northeast Tennessee counties, Chafin said. It has provided about 500,000 pounds of food each month through 200 community service agencies.
"When we end our fiscal year in June, we expect to provide about 6 million pounds of food for the year," Chafin said. "That is up significantly, from about 4.2 million pounds in the previous fiscal year."
During the past year, the food bank has served an average of 3,000 more people each month.
"Most of the food drives held for us are during the holidays. We really don't have a lot going on right now and during the summer months is a critical time for children who are out of school," Chafin said.
Festival officials plan to staff the Tunes at Noon summer concert series at the Paramount Center on June 12, 19 and 26. In addition, they will sell tickets during the June 19 Border Bash in downtown Bristol and conduct food drives June 27 at Kroger stores in Bristol, Va., Abingdon, Va., and Kingsport and Johnson City in Tennessee.
Throughout the month, donations can be taken to the festival office at 29 Sixth St., in Bristol, Tenn., the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, the Paramount Center and Fandango, 511 State St.
Advance ticket sales for this year's festival, scheduled Sept. 18-20, have been good, Ross said, and another record crowd is expected. Last year, the festival attracted about 31,000 people to downtown Bristol.
Rhythm & Roots, which honors the Twin City's country and bluegrass music heritage, recently received one of Virginia's most prestigious tourism awards. The Virginia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus named the festival its best destination event of the year during its annual Virgo travel and tourism awards ceremony.
"It's pretty phenomenal that we would get this recognition," Ross said. "We were nominated along with an event in Virginia Beach with a $3 million budget. This is a real tribute to the community and the support we receive."