Thursday, May 17, 2012

Keller Williams and company drum out cancer at weekend festival

The annual drumSTRONG concert festival and fundraiser takes place Saturday and Sunday, May 19 and 20, at Misty Meadows Farms in Weddington. Part concert and part marathon drum circle, drumSTRONG raises funds for cancer research and awareness much like a Race for the Cure-type event. Instead of walking or running, participants, who collect per-hour sponsorships and donations, drum. The longer you keep a beat during the 30-hour drum circle, the more money you raise for the cause (although no one is expected to drum continuously).

If you don't own a drum, instruments are available for rental and sale at the festival.

Spectators are also welcome. There will be plenty of live entertainment with a bevy of local and regional acts and headliners George Porter, Jr. and Keller Williams. Williams will perform with Jeff Sipe, Gibb Droll, and Jay Starling; Porter with his band Runnin' Pardners. Saturday's other scheduled acts include Bubonik Funk, the Brubakers, Sci Fi, Dead End Parking, and Eyes of the Elders. Of Good Nature kicks off the schedule early Sunday followed by Remy St. Claire, Jordan Klemons Trio, Pseudo Blue, and Inner Visions. The full schedule is available here.

Other attractions include belly dancing, a MayPole dance, KidZParades, a Health Expo, and an allstar jam featuring Porter, Jr., members of Williams' band, and guest musicians that will close out the festival Sunday. There are plenty of children's activities, food options, and vendors. Camping is available.

Admission is $30 per person or $50 per family. Donations are tax deductible.

If you can't be there, participating drum circles will be webcasting their own events live around the globe. Groups in other US cities as well as those in places as far away as Malaysia, the Ukraine, Cairo, and Melbourne have participated in past years. For more info on global events go here.

DrumSTRONG was founded by Scott Swimmer in 2006. The idea was that the universal language of rhythm could unite families who are facing cancer around the world in their fight to BEAT the disease. Swimmer's young son Mason - now a cancer survivor - was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2004. The all-volunteer event is produced by Swimmer's DrumsForCures organization. In 2011 fifty US cities and 15 countries hosted drumSTRONG events.

Gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Events begin at noon. The finale is Sunday at 6 p.m. For tickets and more information please see 

(Photo of participant Corson Hicks courtesy of S. Swimmer)