MADISONVILLE, KY (6/25/13)—Summer is in full swing and the good times just keep on rolling. From the first annual Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival/Red Cross benefit held on June 15th to Madisonville’s monthly Friday Night Live concert and summer entertainment series, as well as Madisonville’s upcoming 4th Fest celebration, it seems like the entertainment options available to regional residents are really starting to heat up as of late.
But what is one to do in between these events? An excellent option is coming up this Saturday: Relay For Life’s first-ever "Summer Fest."
Organized by both the First United Methodist Church’s Relay For Life (RFL) team and Madisonville-based performer, Ray Ligon, the RFL Summer Fest will bring a bevy of live music, food, refreshments, and family-friendly entertainment to the corner of Sugg and Main Streets in downtown Madisonville on Saturday, June 29th. And it’s all for a noble and humanitarian cause: finding a cure for cancer.
“Cancer affects everyone. It’s a very widespread issue. For the most part, we all know someone—whether it’s a family member or a friend—who has been affected by cancer at some point in their life,” explains First United Methodist Church’s longtime RFL Team Captain and event organizer, Laura Armstrong. “Statistically speaking, 1,500 Americans are diagnosed with some form of cancer every 24 hours and, out of that group, 500 will die. It’s a very unfortunate statistic and that’s what Relay For Life is trying to put an end to.”
Along with lemonade, sandwich, t-shirt, cook book, and scarf sales—as well as face painting, a chalk area, and other youth-based activities—the RFL Summer Fest will also play host to performances by six talented musicians and groups from the Madisonville area. A list of each group and/or performer with their scheduled set times can be found below:
“Laura Armstrong asked me what I thought about putting an event like this together and if I would help with the music. I wanted to help out, so we tossed around a couple of dates and finally came up with the 29th,” says country-style singer-songwriter and charity-minded performer, Ray Ligon. “I got the info from her and made the request to the city of Madisonville, and it was approved last week at the city council meeting.”
And as Ligon explains to the Sugg Street Post, his involvement with the first RFL Summer Fest was inspired by both compassion and personal experience.
“I believe in helping out with a good cause when I am able, especially when that cause is to help fight cancer,” says Ligon. “My dad died from Lymphoma cancer, so this is close to home for me. Plus, an event like this will not only help to raise funds for much needed research, as well as other areas that help those affected, but it will also show the rest of the community that we care about folks and want to see an end to cancer someday.”
Echoing Ray’s heartfelt sentiment, another Madisonville resident and talented performer who will be playing during the Summer Fest, Cody Melton, says he also has personal reasons for getting involved.
“My dad, Barry ‘Bluesman’ Melton, recently died of cancer and that’s a big part of why I chose to get involved with Relay For Life’s Summer Fest,” says Melton. “I’ll also be playing a cancer-based benefit at the Ballard Convention Center on August 17th to help support the family of 14-year-old Tristin Spindler. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma bone cancer and it has spread from his hips to his lungs.”
In addition to performing an approximately 45 minute set during the event, Melton will also be offering up both a free guitar and an autographed flyer to a lucky attendant who registers at his merchandise table.
“Kids can put their names in a big bowl I’ll have at my merchandise booth, which will be ran by volunteer Julie Cummings, and I will draw a name out after my set. The person I draw will win a starter First Act brand guitar that I personally set up,” says Cody. “It’s the least I can do to get people out to the event. Plus, I want to spread the joy of music in the hopes of keeping peoples’ spirits high while also helping to raise money to see a cure one day.”
Though several volunteers will be participating in the event, Armstrong and Ligon urge more area residents to get involved with the festival if possible. Specifically, Armstrong mentions that the First United Methodist Church RFL team is currently searching for a caricature artist who would be willing to donate both their time and some supplies to the event.
If you would like to help out in anyway, or if know of someone who might be able to volunteer their artistic skills for a good cause, please contact Laura Armstrong by phone at (270) 871-5063.
“It is my prayer that this coming Saturday will be a tremendous boost for the cause,” adds Ligon. “I hope that we have Sugg Street just crowded like crazy by a mess of folks who care about their community and raising awareness about the fight against cancer.”
The first-ever RFL Summer Fest will be held on the corner of Sugg and Main Streets (in front of the Montpelier panting) in downtown Madisonville on June 29th. The event will last from 3pm to 9pm and is completely free to attend, though donations are encouraged and appreciated.
And even if you can’t make it out to this weekend’s entertaining, benefit-style event, you can show your support for our local Relay For Life by clicking here or by visiting their official Facebook page.
To RSVP to the RFL Summer Fest via Facebook, click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/469165966508246/.
If you’d like to learn more about Ray Ligon and his music, click here for a full-length interview courtesy of the Sugg Street Post.
If you’d like to read an in-depth interview with Madisonville Mayor David Jackson, who is also a talented singer/guitarist, click the following article title: American Exceptionalism—An Inside Look at Mayor David Jackson.
To check out coverage of a relatively recent collaborative concert held in Madisonville, which featured Cody Melton and Mollie Garrigan—both of which will be performing at the RFL Summer Fest—click the following article title: Creating Community with Electric Synergy.
For an interview and photos of Mollie Garrigan courtesy of the Sugg Street Post, click the following article title: Mollie Garrigan—Merging Two Worlds.
Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Ray Ligon photo courtesy of Jeff Harp