MOTM presents $5,500 to App Voices
Organizers of Boone's annual Music on the Mountaintop agree this year's festival was a rousing success.
With attendance between 5,000 and 6,000, it was what founder Jimmy Hunt called "good, successful and exciting."
Area environmental advocacy group Appalachian Voices would agree, to the tune of $5,500.
With community outreach a key facet of the festival, Hunt has ensured that portions of proceeds benefit a different nonprofit organization each year. This year, Appalachian Voices stood to benefit with a 10 percent increase in donation from last year.
"Even with the economy down, there are still positive events trying to get us back," Hunt said. "It makes sense. If people can have a good time and dance and, at the end of the day, realize their ticket made a difference, that's pretty awesome."
According to Appalachian Voices' Jeff Deal, the donation "will go a long way to support our mission of bringing people together to protect the land, air, water and communities of the Appalachian region."
"The money will help us end mountaintop removal coal mining, transition our region towards using more renewable energy and energy efficiency, and protect our waters from industrial pollution," Deal said.
"They're fighting a national problem," Hunt said of Appalachian Voices and its battle against mountaintop removal. "Even though we were able to give them money, we got more out of the deal, just being around their people. It was more about exposure, letting people know what mountaintop removal is, how big a ripple effect it has ... It was an eye-opening experience."
It's an environmental awareness Hunt is glad to support, promising that next year's festival - the fourth annual - will return to square one by going further than green.
"We're going to put a lot of influence on that," he said, adding that the festival must return to its sustainable roots.
Hunt admitted that the green focus slipped somewhat this year, but was glad that "we got called out on it," indicating that festival-goers care - and vocally, at that - about the subject.
"(Next year), we'll be offering free potable water, stepping up our recycling, encouraging more participation in the shuttle system, and getting back to composting," Hunt said. "We didn't do the river clean-up this year, but will bring it back next year."
Overall, he said, attendees' reactions were positive.
"But what really blew my mind was the amount of positive response we got from the artists - Larry Keel, Toubab Krewe, Railroad Earth, even Keller (Williams)," he said. "They all tried to come find me, not just to say 'thank you,' but a very personal, sincere 'thank you.' Toubab has been all over the world and said this was such a breath of fresh air, coming back and playing in front of people who genuinely like music.
"That's a testament to our town and fans, what Music on the Mountaintop is, and that it's, hopefully, always going to be here."
He's already started lining up performers for 2011's festival, again designed for two days with the possibility of acoustic music on a third. Though some requests are still pending, Hunt was happy to receive quick confirmation from a Music on the Mountaintop regular, Father of Newgrass Sam Bush.
For more information and updates, visit http://www.musiconthemountaintop.com.