MOMS Music Festival to be Sunday

KARE benefit to feature Lorrain Conard, others
By Stina Sieg | Apr 30, 2012
Photo by: Donated photo Well-known local songstress Lorraine Conard will play MOMS Music Festival this Sunday. Conard, who will bring a full band to back her, is also slated to play Bele Chere this summer.

We are officially in the season of festivals, a time when just about everything gets its own special celebration. From spring to ramps, old tractors to international dance, Haywood County’s got a lot of concepts covered — but there’s always room for one more. Especially when it’s for the moms.

Thanks to Women of Waynesville (WOW), a new women-centered fundraising group, mothers across the county are going to be honored this Sunday at the first-ever MOMS Music Festival. On one hand, the family-friendly fiesta is an early Mother’s Day present for the area. On the other, it’s a fundraiser for Kids Advocacy Resource Effort (KARE), a local organization dedicated to combatting child abuse in Haywood County.

To quote Nikki White, president of WOW, the event should be “awesome.”
The idea is “to bring out that awareness and at the same time promote something fantastic and to celebrate moms,” she said.

While many festivals around here are huge, filling blocked-off city streets or fairgrounds, this has been tailored to be an intimate and inviting afternoon. Taking place from noon to 6 p.m. in the Herren House’s lush outdoor courtyard, MOMS has space to bring the whole family, and even a blanket and cooler, and relax. With a wide range of music — including tunes by the Josh Pierce Band, Lorraine Conard Band, David Turner Band and DJ Todd Dionne, of 105.9 The Mountain fame — the festival should appeal to all sorts of musical tastes. Add an in-depth children’s activities area, food, raffles and several vendors selling arts and crafts, and you’ve got something that could resonate with all kinds of people.

And that, White stressed, is what WOW is all about.

Most locals probably first learned about WOW last year, when it raised $1,500 for REACH with an artistic, semi-nude calendar featuring local women of all ages and sizes. The calendar proved a hit, and with this festival White is hoping for the same kind of success. Maybe more anything, she wants to let people know that WOW is here — and ready to help. The organization’s goal is make a difference to local organizations, businesses and other entities that empower women.

“We wanted to provide an outlet specifically for women of all ages and all walks of earth,” she said.

All it takes is a trip to a WOW meeting to know  that’s worked. The group has an incredibly varied base of local support, including businesswomen, heads of nonprofits, artists and more. This diverse flock of females includes Tara Keilberg, the director KARE, who’s bowled over by the group’s purpose and generosity.

“I love them. And they happen to be fabulous people,” she said.

In a time when nonprofits are struggling to get donations, having WOW put on an event like this is “kind of a godsend,” she added.

The fact that this benefit is so family-oriented is a bonus. As a mother to a toddler daughter, she knows the importance of giving moms a place to kick back and enjoy a little music and food while their children play in a safe environment. Though she’ll spend most of the day working the event, she hopes to slip away a bit to watch the music and just enjoy the atmosphere.

The vibe should be “easy and fun and light-hearted,” she said.
Maybe that’s the real power of WOW, which has a way of working with weight issues while somehow always staying upbeat and creative. Much more than its calendars and events, that’s really WOW’s trademark.

This out-of-the-box approach to things has drawn what WOW member and Keep It Kleen owner Liz Bridges calls a “wonderful group of women.”
“We’re all here to support  the cause and to all have fun,” she said, looking forward to Sunday.

Though she’ll be spending most of the day in the kitchen preparing food for the crowds, she’s happy to be part of such an all-inclusive, family-centered afternoon. Helping create this festival has been a nice reminder of how possible things are in the world — when people come together, that is.

“I’m just one person, but together we are Women of Waynesville,” she said. “And that’s what makes us, and together we can do a lot of good.”

MOMS Music Festival will be from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 6, at the Herren House, 94 East St., in Waynesville. In addition to music, the day will include food, local vendors and a children’s area with face painting, clowns and crafts. A local fire truck might even stop by. Preston Tinsley, as his beloved drag alter ego, Marilyn Merlot, will emcee the day. Mothers and children under 10 are free, and all other tickets are $5. For more information, call 545-6879 or 452-7837.