Fest raises funds for Liberia

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September 18, 2007

2:20 AM

Saturday, the College’s first-annual Fall Fest will take place in the Sunken Garden. The day-long festival will feature musical performances to raise money and aid for Liberia. UCAB and Sigma Pi fraternity will co-host the event.

p. The Fall Fest will combine student musicians and nationally-recognized bands alike. The main stage in the Sunken Garden will start the day at noon with performances by the established College band Ultra Violet Ballet, student Steve Hobbs and the local band, Rock River Gypsies. Meanwhile the Crim Dell Amphitheatre will host African dance and drumming workshops. At 4:30 p.m. the Mission to Liberia presentation will commence and explain how the proceeds will be used to construct a clinic for the war-torn nation.

p. The music will resume with the band Scott Fisher and the 1 am Experience will be followed by Stanley Poon and the Bone Diddleys. At 8 p.m., self-described “junk rock” and headliner band Recycled Percussion will play. The final act, The Afromative begins at 9 p.m. in the Sunken Garden to share their modern musical twist on African-inspired music.
Liberia is a country on the African west coast that has endured two civil wars in the past 20 years. Ravaged by bloody warfare, governmental corruption and extreme poverty, it is still recuperating from the end of its most recent war in 2003. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and left the Liberian economy decimated. Currently, living conditions are nearly unlivable.

p. The Fall Fest will contribute proceeds to Mission to Liberia, a charitable organization that seeks to build a health clinic in Liberia. The organization wants to circumvent governmental oversight and utilize donations to fund their project. Mission to Liberia stresses that while immediate relief is desperately needed for Liberia, a long-lasting structure to continuously provide health care is just as crucial.

p. “All aid is important,” Ian Keene-Babcock ’09, a Sig Pi brother, said. “You can send food, supplies or vaccines, but to build a structure — a clinic that will stand for years to come and save hundreds of lives a day is something that can stay with the WM community even after the festival is over.”

p. Inspired by a similar charity music festival this summer, Keene-Babcock solicited his fellow fraternity brothers for help in initiating the event. “The fraternities on this campus have so much potential. WM Fall Fest is about realizing this potential,” he said. “We hope this can inspire other social organizations to expand their horizons and start new projects. Creativity is something this campus does not lack, and it will be exciting to see how this evolves over the next two years.”

p. Sigma Pi and UCAB hope to raise awareness for the endeavor and reprise it as an annual event. They will gauge this year’s first-annual event and plan next year’s accordingly.

p. The eclectic performers emphasize the connection the Fall Fest strives to forge with the Liberian people. The Afromotive lends authentic flair. Though the dance troupe hails from Asheville, NC, their 9-part ensemble incorporates tri-lingual music into their fusion of jazz and drum beats. Bandleader Kevin Meyame originates from West Africa and since moving to America has crossed musical and ethnic borders to create a unique performance. According to the Fall Fest website, “Singing in French, English, and his native language of Baoule, as well as providing polyrhythms on djembe, Kevin adds an authentically African flavor to their nu-afrobeat sound.”

p. Headliner band Recycled Percussion are classified as “powerful industrial drumming backed by metal grinding guitar,” according to the Fall Fest website. They feature DJ Pharoah to contrast hip-hop and funk to their metal sound. Concert-goers can expect high-energy shows from all the acts, especially from the renowned Recycled Percussion.

p. UCAB music productions chair Jeanna Occhiogrosso remembers: “When the UCAB representatives went to this big conference last year for UCAB-esque groups, they came back raving about Recycled Percussion. They’ve been talking about the group for almost a year now, describing their performance as incredibly energetic, powerful, and really entertaining. I’ve heard Recycled Percussion likened to Stomp, with trash cans as drums, an incredible DJ, and an eye-catching lights show. We’re all really excited to see them again.”

p. The Fall Fest is not to be missed. Whether you venture to the Sunken Gardens, the Crim Dell Amphitheater or the newly renovated Lake Matoaka Amphitheater, music will invade campus all day Saturday. For more information on the bands, the Mission to Liberia charity and the itinerary of show times, refer to the website www.WMFallFest.com.
Student tickets are $5 for students.

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