Displaying items by tag: event

  • Published in Music

Community Collage: Every Chord Counts

EVANSVILLE, IN (10/3/13) – The sound of over 300 guitar and stringed instrument players performing in unison rang out across Evansville, Indiana’s West Franklin Street area this past Saturday, September 28th. 

The event, which was aptly entitled “Every Chord Counts,” was the area’s first annual attempt at breaking the Guinness World Record for “largest guitar ensemble” in history.

While Poland's lofty record of over 6,000 players remains unbroken, as does the US record, the fun-loving crowd of musicians that showed up and played at the gathering helped to set a new guitar ensemble record for the state of Indiana.

And thanks to the affair’s host/organizer, Amy Word, as well as members of the acclaimed Boscoe France Band, Calabash, and Andrea Wirth, the event was a great time for all that attended.

We can’t wait to check it out again next year. 

To read the original Sugg Street Post article about "Every Chord Counts," click here

For now, though, we leave you with a few photos taken by Sugg Street Post photographer, Jessi Smith, during the first annual event.


Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Perseid Meteor Shower - The 'Best and Brightest'

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (8/2/13)—Independence Day celebrations are long gone for 2013, but mother nature has a phenomenal interstellar “fireworks” display up her sleeve that has been wowing audiences all over the world for thousands of years: the Perseid meteor shower.

Generally regarded by both seasoned astronomers and recreational stargazers as the “best” annual meteor shower visible from the Northern Hemisphere, the Perseid meteor shower not only produces some of the brightest meteors of the year, but it also correlates with the tail end of the Delta Aquarid shower that peaks in late July and continues into early August.

What’s more, those trying to fit in a viewing of the Perseids will have plenty of opportunities to squeeze in a little “time off the clock.” In fact, the 2013 Perseids meteor shower can be viewed during the post-midnight/pre-dawn hours of early August for nearly two full weeks, with their peak production of 50-100 visible meteors per hour taking place on the late evenings/early mornings of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.

As EarthSky.org explains of the immense meteor shower:

The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere…The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn. They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky. They are typically fast and bright meteors. They frequently leave persistent trains. Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13. They combine with the Delta Aquarid shower to produce the year’s most dazzling display of shooting stars. In 2013, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with little to no interference from the waxing crescent moon. Plus the moon will be near the planet Saturn in the evening hours, giving a colorful prelude to late-night Perseid show.

To maximize your viewing experience of the Perseids, however, there are a few guidelines that should be followed:

• First and foremost, you’ll want to locate an open and public vantage point that is as far removed from light pollution as is possible (this includes everything from glowing city lights to the lights of a car or nearby security light). Fortunately, Hopkins County has plenty of rural areas that are perfect for such an occasion.

• Secondly, it’s important to remember that watching for meteors is really all about getting out and enjoying the fruits of nature. While the Perseid shower is legendary because of the powerful and dependable displays it can produce, it would take a lot of patience to catch each and every one of the 50-100 meteors the annual shower can create.

• Third, don’t forget to make yourself comfortable while gazing at the night sky. Bring a chair or seat, check the weather, and dress appropriately for the climate.

• Finally, make sure you’re looking for meteors at the right time. To reiterate, the Perseids will be peaking during the late evening/pre-dawn hours of August 10/11, 11/12, and 12/13.

To learn more about the Perseid meteor shower, click here.

Wondering what the shower might actually look like? Check out a stunning time-lapse film of the 2010 Perseid meteor shower by clicking the video player attached below this article.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photo by Jeff Harp
Information provided by EarthSky.org

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  • Published in Music

Community Collage: Sugg Goes to Forecastle

"credit" Jessi SmithHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (7/24/13) - I got the news that I'd be covering the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY a week before the three-day event via email from festival "first mate" Holly Weyler. I was barely awake and still had one eye closed, so I didn't fully believe that I was reading it correctly. It had been a long-time goal of mine to cover a major music event and the Forecastle Festival happened to be headlined by one of my favorite bands, The Black Keys. The annual music fest also featured many more bands that I desperately wanted to see. Ranging from talented up and comers to a legendary frontman, Forecastle was expected to draw an estimated 75,000 fans over a three-day weekend.

A visit to the official Forecastle Festival website tells you all about the history of the event:

Founded in 2002 by Louisville native JK McKnight, Forecastle has grown from a community event to one of the country’s most anticipated summer festivals, which now draws tens of thousands of fans from across the world to Louisville’s scenic 85-acre Waterfront Park. In addition to featuring a who’s who of musical acts such as The Black Keys, Widespread Panic, My Morning Jacket, Bassnectar, the Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, Sleater-Kinney, and The Avett Brothers, Forecastle has consistently promoted local artists as well as focusing on environmental activism and outdoor recreation. Past Forecastles have featured prominent organizations, industry leaders, and distinguished speakers, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Riverkeepers), Rob Caughlan (Surfrider Foundation) and Christopher Childs (Greenpeace International). Forecastle is co-produced by Knoxville-based AC Entertainment, one of the country’s premiere independent concert promoters, putting on more than 750 concerts throughout the Southeast as well as producing major events such as Bonnaroo, Gentlemen of the Road and Mountain Oasis.

The big day arrived. With my media bracelet on my wrist, the gates opened and an incredibly entertaining weekend commenced. I'm not a music critic or a writer, I don't have the gift of being able to tell you why I love a performance or what makes a song good, and, honestly, I went to the festival to document it with my camera. That being said, here you'll find in no particular order, my top memories of the weekend, as well as a few photos of the sights and sounds of Forecastle 2013.

"credit" Jessi SmithRobert Plant:
Before he started the first song, Plant promised a day of 1970's nostalgia, he waved puffs of incense over the crowd, and entertained us with witty banter between songs. With a set that included old Zeppelin favorites, as well as his new material with the Sensational Space Shifters, he proved that the pipes were still strong and the Golden God could still let loose. In putting the mic to the crowd to help sing “Black Dog,” Plant also showed he could engage a crowd as good as ever. However, what really made it memorable was when ominous clouds began to roll in and in his English accent he apologized for bringing the "naughty, naughty, clouds" and began a powerful version of “What Is and What Should Never Be.” Not far into the song, the rain began. What was at first a sprinkle, turned quickly into a full-blown downpour and rained onto us like a magic potion turning us into a crowd worthy of Woodstock. All while Plant sang fitting lyrics:

Catch the wind, see us spin, sail away, leave today, way up high in the sky. 
But the wind won't blow, you really shouldn't go, it only goes to show 
That you will be mine, by takin' our time.

With the rain in his face and thunder booming in the background like an extra member of the band, it felt surreal; it's how I imagine being a fan felt back in the day. Security ran around worriedly telling each other, "We gotta get him off the stage!" With coverings breaking loose and flapping in the wind, the crowd went crazy until Plant finished his set (sadly, earlier than planned) and we, soaking wet and muddy, were told to take cover under the overpass for the duration of the storm. It truly was as if Plant somehow conjured us up a 1970's experience.

"credit" Jessi SmithThe Black Keys (and crowd):
If you take a band that can fill an arena and stick them on a river bank, you can expect a bit of a crowd. As the headliners, I knew I'd see the biggest crowd at the Keys’ show, but I didn't fully realize how big until I was in that massive hoard. Forecastle tweeted an aerial shot of the crowd and it speaks for itself.
"credit" ForecastleThe guys from Akron gave an energetic set for their last stop of the 129-show-long El Camino tour. I was lucky enough to attend the opener in Cincinnati as well, and comparing the two shows, it was clear The Black Keys didn't lose any enthusiasm during their grueling schedule. Keeping the setlist mostly the same, minus the popular disco ball-lit performance of “Everlasting Light,” they finished strong with the classic “I Got Mine” that only reinforced for me that my favorite Black Keys performances only have two people on the stage.
"credit" Jessi SmithThe People:
Seriously, all of them—the crowd, the staff, security, photographers, media…everyone. I don't know whether I should chalk it up to southern hospitality or the general lighthearted vibe of Forecastle, but I loved everyone I met: the lady who held my spot in the crowd while I was in the photo pit; the guy who shared his water with me after we'd been standing in a crowd for hours and hours; the fellow photog who helped me sneak into a pit I wasn't supposed to be in; the roadie who came out of nowhere and gave me a setlist; the media guy that took me under his wing when I first arrived, fighting a serious case of nerves and feeling out of place; the seasoned photographer who helped me get a tough shot of Jim James and gave me pointers on my camera settings; the security guards that chatted with me while I waited for the shows to start; and even the festival “bigwigs” that treated all the media people the same and answered every question so equally that I still don't know which one of the guys was the one from Rolling Stone magazine.

"credit" Jessi SmithThe Art:
You could see the passion and pride the vendors had for their art in every booth. Artisans peddled jewelry, clothing, hammocks, delicious foods, and t-shirts. The poster alley held the works of many of the best in the gig poster world, most of whom had clients that were performing as you browsed. In the center of the venue, being overlooked by a lifeguard, a solid white boat sat like a blank canvas, which was exactly the intention. A group of artists gathered around to spend the weekend making the "S.S. Freebird" into something amazing. There was also the wall, where graffiti artists spent the duration of the festival tagging and creating a beautiful mural that, at festival close, they cut into pieces that you could buy for $10 a square foot. In fact, the festival itself was a work of art. It isn't easy to blend nautical and Kentucky roots themes successfully, but they did it. The bourbon lounge was a tent where you relaxed on burlap-covered hay bales surrounded by barrels while sampling Kentucky's finest bourbons. Step outside the lounge and you see "waves" that doubled as chairs, which were rarely unoccupied. The motto of Forecastle was, "Music. Art. Activism," and that's exactly what they provided.

"credit" Jessi SmithEverything:
Ok, this is a cop-out, but I mean it. I loved everything. I had to spend two of the three days of the festival without my friends there and I was worried about being bored, but that never happened. Everywhere I looked there was a stage, canvas, booth, or person whose purpose seemed to be to entertain me. People tossed footballs around and hula hooped. There were cornhole tournaments and games of giant Connect Four. The lesser known performers mingled with the crowds, and had such a lack of pretension that the only way you could tell they were going to be on stage was the pale wristband embroidered with 'ARTIST' and the occasional super-fan getting their picture made with them. Everyone shared an enthusiasm for being there, and during nearly every set you could see one of the other bands in the wings watching with as much excitement as the crowd. In most of my pictures of Old Crow Medicine Show, you can see the members of Houndmouth grinning widely behind them. It was a weekend made for laid back, free-spirited fun.

"credit" Jessi SmithWell, there they are, the top things that pop into my head when someone asks, "So how was it?" I'm sure critics and the like have completely different moments to recount, but that's the beauty of music festivals. You get to customize your experience. They take a broad range of musical talents and combine them to expose people to old favorites and new discoveries. You take from it what you want and have as much fun as you let yourself.

Now I'll leave you with the last photo I took at Forecastle. As I walked to the exit with the sound of The Avett Brothers' excellent set finale filling the air, this guy stopped to tell me I’d dropped something, and when he found out I was taking pictures for Sugg Street Post in western Kentucky, he asked me to take his picture because his mom lives in Princeton and might see it. So here you go cute guy on the hay bales, I hope she does.

"credit" Jessi SmithScroll below to see more photos taken at Forecastle Festival 2013.
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Written by Jessi Smith
Photos by Jessi Smith

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Word on the Street: Basking in Waves of Progress

MADISONVILLE, KY (7/19/13)—Full-spectrum progress is rarely a measurable, down-to-the-speck concept. Oftentimes, authentic progress is evidenced by an anomalous, subjective feeling imparted upon an individual or a collective group through a set of direct or indirect experiences. And it’s the aforementioned sense of subjectivity that’s key, because, like beauty, the notions of development and growth are ultimately in the eye of the beholder. To put it bluntly, it’s up to the observers—the people of Hopkins County and west Kentucky in this case—to recognize and appreciate the encouraging changes around us rather than focusing on the negatives that can tarnish our perceptions.

So, why examine this concept here? And how does this perspective on progress connect with our community?

While I could recount a variety of past experiences that would answer these questions adequately, I’d rather point to something specific that took place a week ago.

It was the night of Friday, July 12th, and myself, as well as a couple of close friends, suddenly found ourselves completely immersed in this peculiar sense of progress as we stood on my back porch in Madisonville, listening to the sounds of positive change emanating from the downtown district.

Yet, it had taken a full day—or perhaps even years in retrospect—ripe with tedious, but rewarding, business-related efforts and enjoyable interaction with people in our community before we were once again led to what has become a fairly familiar realization as of late: our area is growing in the right direction.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Much like any other day, Jessica Dockrey and I completed our summer morning routine, which includes getting my daughter ready for the day, taking her to stay with a member of my family so we can focus on business, eating breakfast upon our return, taking showers, putting some fresh clothes on, and pounding away at a variety of Sugg Street Post-related tasks until the late afternoon. The difference with this particular day, however, was that we would be participating in the City of Madisonville’s second installment of the 2013 Friday Night Live summer concert and entertainment series.

As with the first FNL we attended back in June, we were excited to check out the event’s entertainment lineup and to talk with attendants about the Sugg Street Post. We were also eager to see our friends out at the event having a good time with their families.

So, as the mid-morning quickly turned to late-afternoon, we packed up our table, a banner, some blank note cards for an advertising giveaway, business cards, and a few fold-out chairs, and headed toward the city’s downtown district to set up our booth.

As before, we were lucky enough to have a spot on the corner of Court and Union Streets where we could see the performance stage while also meeting with a variety of FNL patrons.

Though attendance for the event underwent gradual growth throughout the evening, the turnout for the summer concert series, which was made possible via a partnership with Baptist Health Madisonville and the Hopkins County Tourist and Convention Commission, was perhaps the best I’ve seen in four years by the time 7:30pm rolled around.

Along with booths from a variety of businesses and organizations, a motorcycle show hosted by the Hopkins County Central Archery Team on East Center Street, and onsite food and refreshment services—which included the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce’s beer garden—the event also boasted a three-part musical lineup that included Larry Grisham and The Beat Daddys, Elvis impersonator Brad McCrady, and the acclaimed Boscoe France Band.

Furthermore, we (Jessica, close friend and photographer Jeff Harp, and I) got to meet and talk with a lot of fresh faces that were excited about the Sugg Street Post and the support we try to offer up to the local arts and entertainment scene in western Kentucky. For our fans and supporters, we are truly grateful.

Yet, by the time 8:15pm rolled around, we were physically and mentally exhausted. It was the culmination of a work week that seemed to stretch much farther than five days and we were ready for some down time at home. While we didn’t want to miss what was surely going to be one of the biggest and most anticipated shows of the season—a live performance by Guitar Center’s national 2012 Battle of the Blues winner and Hopkins County native, Boscoe France—we succumbed to our human frailties and packed it up, ready to relax in the comforts of our own home.

With most everything unloaded, we took off our shoes, popped open a couple of brews, and headed out toward the back porch of our home on the south end of town to take in the relaxing sights of the night sky. And as we walked past the threshold some six to seven blocks away from downtown Madisonville and FNL, we were greeted by the soulful howls and bluesy wailing of The Boscoe France Band cutting a smooth grove into the evening air.

We weren’t going to miss the show after all.

I was born here, and I’ve lived in or nearby Madisonville for the majority of my life, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been able to hear music from an event this clearly. Not only could I hear the performance, but it was truly phenomenal music. We all looked at each other and seemed to exclaim the same sentiments in unison, “This is awesome!”

And it truly was awe-inspiring in that moment. To us, it was a sign of where our small town is headed.

Throughout the hour-and-a-half set, we all felt as though we were witness to something special. It was pure. It was evolution. It was a triumph for our local scene wrapped up in a seemingly simple package of sound waves, nice weather, and cool night air. It was about friendship and a shared vision. Sure, there may have been a handful of local folks trying to get some sleep that night, but, on the whole, our town was truly alive. It was electric, loud, and stunning.

We were at home, relaxing in a chair with our feet kicked up, and we could hear the sounds of progress, the rumble of bikes roaring down the streets, the clickety-clack and groan of a train passing through the darkness, reminding us of what a great place we have to call home.

____________________________________________

Want to learn more about Madisonville’s 2013 Friday Night Live summer concert series? If so, click the following link: 

http://www.madisonvillegov.com/Madisonville_Kentucky/index.asp?Page=Friday%20Night%20Live

To learn more about Boscoe France and The Boscie France Band, click here or click the YouTube player attached below this article.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photo provided by Boscoe France

Read more...

Word on the Street: Basking in Waves of Progress

MADISONVILLE, KY (7/19/13)—Full-spectrum progress is rarely a measurable, down-to-the-speck concept. Oftentimes, authentic progress is evidenced by an anomalous, subjective feeling imparted upon an individual or a collective group through a set of direct or indirect experiences. And it’s the aforementioned sense of subjectivity that’s key, because, like beauty, the notions of development and growth are ultimately in the eye of the beholder. To put it bluntly, it’s up to the observers—the people of Hopkins County and west Kentucky in this case—to recognize and appreciate the encouraging changes around us rather than focusing on the negatives that can tarnish our perceptions.

So, why examine this concept here? And how does this perspective on progress connect with our community?

While I could recount a variety of past experiences that would answer these questions adequately, I’d rather point to something specific that took place a week ago.

It was the night of Friday, July 12th, and myself, as well as a couple of close friends, suddenly found ourselves completely immersed in this peculiar sense of progress as we stood on my back porch in Madisonville, listening to the sounds of positive change emanating from the downtown district.

Yet, it had taken a full day—or perhaps even years in retrospect—ripe with tedious, but rewarding, business-related efforts and enjoyable interaction with people in our community before we were once again led to what has become a fairly familiar realization as of late: our area is growing in the right direction.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Much like any other day, Jessica Dockrey and I completed our summer morning routine, which includes getting my daughter ready for the day, taking her to stay with a member of my family so we can focus on business, eating breakfast upon our return, taking showers, putting some fresh clothes on, and pounding away at a variety of Sugg Street Post-related tasks until the late afternoon. The difference with this particular day, however, was that we would be participating in the City of Madisonville’s second installment of the 2013 Friday Night Live summer concert and entertainment series.

As with the first FNL we attended back in June, we were excited to check out the event’s entertainment lineup and to talk with attendants about the Sugg Street Post. We were also eager to see our friends out at the event having a good time with their families.

So, as the mid-morning quickly turned to late-afternoon, we packed up our table, a banner, some blank note cards for an advertising giveaway, business cards, and a few fold-out chairs, and headed toward the city’s downtown district to set up our booth.

As before, we were lucky enough to have a spot on the corner of Court and Union Streets where we could see the performance stage while also meeting with a variety of FNL patrons.

Though attendance for the event underwent gradual growth throughout the evening, the turnout for the summer concert series, which was made possible via a partnership with Baptist Health Madisonville and the Hopkins County Tourist and Convention Commission, was perhaps the best I’ve seen in four years by the time 7:30pm rolled around.

Along with booths from a variety of businesses and organizations, a motorcycle show hosted by the Hopkins County Central Archery Team on East Center Street, and onsite food and refreshment services—which included the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce’s beer garden—the event also boasted a three-part musical lineup that included Larry Grisham and The Beat Daddys, Elvis impersonator Brad McCrady, and the acclaimed Boscoe France Band.

Furthermore, we (Jessica, close friend and photographer Jeff Harp, and I) got to meet and talk with a lot of fresh faces that were excited about the Sugg Street Post and the support we try to offer up to the local arts and entertainment scene in western Kentucky. For our fans and supporters, we are truly grateful.

Yet, by the time 8:15pm rolled around, we were physically and mentally exhausted. It was the culmination of a work week that seemed to stretch much farther than five days and we were ready for some down time at home. While we didn’t want to miss what was surely going to be one of the biggest and most anticipated shows of the season—a live performance by Guitar Center’s national 2012 Battle of the Blues winner and Hopkins County native, Boscoe France—we succumbed to our human frailties and packed it up, ready to relax in the comforts of our own home.

With most everything unloaded, we took off our shoes, popped open a couple of brews, and headed out toward the back porch of our home on the south end of town to take in the relaxing sights of the night sky. And as we walked past the threshold some six to seven blocks away from downtown Madisonville and FNL, we were greeted by the soulful howls and bluesy wailing of The Boscoe France Band cutting a smooth grove into the evening air.

We weren’t going to miss the show after all.

I was born here, and I’ve lived in or nearby Madisonville for the majority of my life, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been able to hear music from an event this clearly. Not only could I hear the performance, but it was truly phenomenal music. We all looked at each other and seemed to exclaim the same sentiments in unison, “This is awesome!”

And it truly was awe-inspiring in that moment. To us, it was a sign of where our small town is headed.

Throughout the hour-and-a-half set, we all felt as though we were witness to something special. It was pure. It was evolution. It was a triumph for our local scene wrapped up in a seemingly simple package of sound waves, nice weather, and cool night air. It was about friendship and a shared vision. Sure, there may have been a handful of local folks trying to get some sleep that night, but, on the whole, our town was truly alive. It was electric, loud, and stunning.

We were at home, relaxing in a chair with our feet kicked up, and we could hear the sounds of progress, the rumble of bikes roaring down the streets, the clickety-clack and groan of a train passing through the darkness, reminding us of what a great place we have to call home.

____________________________________________

Want to learn more about Madisonville’s 2013 Friday Night Live summer concert series? If so, click the following link:

http://www.madisonvillegov.com/Madisonville_Kentucky/index.asp?Page=Friday%20Night%20Live

To learn more about Boscoe France and The Boscie France Band, click here or click the YouTube player attached below this article.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photo provided by Boscoe France

Read more...

First ‘Summer Fest’ in Downtown Madisonville

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:

3pm – Hope Alive Praise Team
4pm – Cody Melton
5pm – Mollie Garrigan
6pm – Spencer Holley
7pm – Madisonville Mayor David Jackson
8pm – Ray Ligon

“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

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2013 Bowl For Kids’ Sake Fundraiser—Little Hands Give Big

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (4/29/13)—While the definition of “community” refers to a group of people living in or near the same area, most would agree that a genuine sense of the word is defined by how well that same group of people can collaborate and what they can achieve when they pull together toward a common, benevolent goal.

This past Saturday, April 27th, this sense of regional unity was on display in Madisonville’s Melody Lanes bowling alley as approximately 80 teams composed of over 400 local business owners, industry employees, regional officials, law enforcement agencies, and a host of other compassionate area residents raised over $100,000 for our local Big Brothers Big Sisters’ (BBBS) annual “Bowl For Kids’ Sake” fundraiser.

Held for over 25 years, the organization’s yearly event has become a cherished staple of our community—and for good reason. Not only do area residents get to show their support for a nationally recognized cause, but they also get to have a great time doing it.

Whereas companies and organizations such as Carhartt, Warrior Coal, Armstrong Coal, and G.E. were among the top donators this year, contributing a very generous combined total of well over $40,000, the fundraiser’s still-growing sum was made possible by many quite literally “smaller” hands as well.

In particular, my daughter, Lucy Short, 6 (see main photo), chose to support BBBS of her own accord this year—a fact that I’m very proud of.

While she could have easily chose to spend money she’d been saving from her last birthday and from the holidays on a new toy or game, she asked me if it was okay to give it to a charity. As you can imagine, I was more than willing to tell her about the organizations she could support. In the end, though, she really liked what BBBS is all about: working with children and teens.

As we were already in the process of forming a Sugg Street Post team for the 2013 fundraiser, we asked if Lucy could be a member. After BBBS gave us the green light, telling us that her age was not a factor, the “Sugg Street Strikers” were born.

Though three of our team members couldn’t make it to this past weekend’s bowling event due to time constraints, we had some much appreciated assistance from another “small” helper: Jessica Dockrey’s daughter, Veda Cook, 3, whose unique “technique” was captured by photographer Jim Pearson on the front page of The Messenger newspaper’s Sunday edition.

And while the “Strikers” all bowled right at (or under) 100, it wasn’t all about the points for us—or for anyone else it seemed. It was about the cause the fundraiser supported and the pleasant sense of community we were able to share.

“This year’s Bowl For Kids’ Sake fundraiser was very exciting and it was organized very well thanks to the army of volunteers who helped out,” said 14-year BBBS member and local director, Sandra Aiken. “It takes a lot of people to make the event a success year after year, and this time was no exception. I’m very thankful for all the support we have received.”

Other than the top four donators listed above, other participants that received awards and prizes at the event included G.E. member and BBBS board member, Gary Wheat (individual who raised the most); Wayne Fuller (iPad winner); Pam Wheat (television winner); Eugene Summers (winner of a black diamond necklace donated by Rogers Jewelers); Teresa Lambdin (Gutter Ball winner); and Ray Baumeister (Strike Winner). Other awards will be announced by BBBS in the very near future.

To learn more about our local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, which serves both Hopkins and Muhlenberg Counties, check out two past Sugg Street Post articles listed below:

You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Bowl for Kids’ Sake 2013—Sign Up Today!

You may also visit our area’s BBBS website for additional donation info by clicking here.

Additional photos by Sugg Street photographer Jessi Smith taken during the 2013 Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser can be found below.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos by Jessi Smith

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  • Published in Art

Princeton Art Guild Recognizes Local Artist

credit: Amy Frances of Amy Frances PhotographyHOPKINS COUNTY, KY (4/5/13) – Outer beauty is often a reflection of our inner health, and the things we surround ourselves with are frequently an outward expression of the way we look at the world around us.

That being said, it is undeniable that consumer interest in handmade goods has increased over the last few years. People are turning to all-natural products, handcrafted wares, and organically grown produce as opposed to chemical-laden goods, factory-built commodities, and “conventional” foods which are treated with pesticides, grown with synthetic fertilizers, and altered with methods of genetic modification.

While these trending changes in consumer habits could be a result of our changing economy, it seems that people are also becoming more conscious about what they surround themselves with and what they put on and in their bodies.

As the popularity of handmade and all-natural items continues to grow, creative artists such as Princeton, KY resident, Rochalle Gray, have been able to flourish while also stepping up to the demands of this ever-increasing market. Recently, Rochalle opened up a new shop called World of RoCraft in her hometown and she is now being recognized by the Princeton Art Guild, which will be sponsoring an art exhibit of her work on April 7.

“World of RoCraft is my dream child,” explains Rochalle. “We [Rochalle and her fiancé Alonzo Pennington] opened the storefront on the first day of March this year. It is a cool little funky shop at 109 West Main Street. We sell things like hairclips, lamps, candles, paintings, furniture, body products, and jewelry. Everything in the store is handmade.”

Originally, Rochalle had been handcrafting everything in-store herself, but, as business is increasing, she has been training others to help her manage her workload.

“I have one other very talented artist working in my shop. Her name is Pam Buijk,” says Rochalle. “Pam is a floral event planner, jewelry maker, and gourd artist. She has had a very successful career planning events for both Oprah Winfrey and the White House. I have also been receiving help from my amazingly talented fiancé Alonzo Pennington. He has taken quite a creative interest in the store and has been designing some pretty amazing lamps for me.”

Rochalle points out that her most popular items are Tin CANdles, which come in a variety of scents including Cinna-Shine, Va-Va Vanilla, and Aloha Butter.


“These are 100% U.S. soy candles and they are hand poured by me the old fashioned way,” explains Rochalle. “Each candle is served up in a recycled can, and a unique piece of fabric is cut and placed on the top of each can.”

Rochalle was also excited to inform me that World of RoCraft has been very successful in selling their high-quality handmade bath and body products.

“All of these products are handmade and I use only the highest quality ingredients,” says Rochalle. “I believe what sets my store apart from other businesses is that I am trying very hard to provide a greener, more natural option for people, as well as unique custom art. We opened the store believing that candles would be our main products. Indeed, they have been very successful. In May, we are planning on distributing our candles to other boutiques in the surrounding counties. What we didn't plan for was the huge success of our handmade soaps, lotions, and body products. I can barely keep up with the demand. It’s a pretty cool problem to have. I really think people are sick of all these added chemicals and hormones in everything we seem to use. They are really becoming more aware of how harmful the things they use on the outside of their body can be to the inside.”

And while Rochelle’s all natural products and original artwork help to improve the quality of life for others, they also have an effect on the creator herself.

credit: Allison Wissink-Coleman
“I actually suffer from ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder]. I have had it my entire life,” explains Rochelle. “I have always found it hard to focus or stay still for very long. Creating things has always allowed me to let my mind wander freely, and it's that freedom that holds my attention. One of the reasons we opened this shop is because my need to create is so intense that, when I am unable to do so, I find myself feeling grumpy and incomplete.”

“For the last several years, I have worked as a waitress and a single mom,” says Rochalle. “I would get off of work late at night and then need to come home and create. Being a single mom means early mornings, so I was truly burning the candle at both ends. When I was working a lot, I didn’t have time to create and found the stress of it all really overwhelming. One day, my fiancé looked at me and said, ‘We need to open a shop so you can work doing what you love to do. Creating can be your job.’ We had a little money saved from a camper that we had bought, fixed up, and sold last summer, so we found a great building in downtown Princeton right across from the radio station. The rest is history.”

credit: Amy Frances of Amy Frances Photography
Rochalle Gray has teamed up with the Princeton Art Guild and they will be hosting her first solo art exhibit. The exhibit will take place on April 7th from 2pm until 4:30pm. The Alonzo Pennington Band will be performing at the event as well.

“We have filled the store to the brim with creative pieces. In the last two weeks alone, I have created about 15 new and unseen canvases, as well as five pregnancy belly casts. There will be some new lamps and tables on exhibit as well. I have been working on some of the biggest canvases I have ever dared," explains Rochalle excitedly. "Some of my larger pieces go all the way up to four-foot-by-four-foot in size. I can't give too much away, but I can promise that this is going to be a very unique collage exhibit. I have never been able to draw, though, and that made me feel inadequate as an artist for a very long time. Regardless, I know that creating is my passion and that makes me just as much of an artist as the finest portrait artist.”

credit: Amy Frances of Amy Frances Photography
Rochalle also wants to utilize World of RoCraft in any way that she can to get involved with the community as far as promoting artistic and musical events in a nearby courtyard beside her shop. In addition, she is looking to expand her candle making operation.

“Eventually, we would love to be able to expand,” explains Rochalle. “Our long term goal is to get a large enough building for a storefront-workshop-warehouse. We hope to have our own art and music complex equipped with a stage and a recording studio, too.”

Rochalle thinks that art is incredibly important to the community and is more than happy to do her part to make sure that others have the opportunity to immerse themselves in it.


“Art breathes fresh ideas into the community,” says Rochalle. “It allows people to explore their different tastes and allows us as artist to express ourselves.”

Sugg Street Post
Written by Jessica Dockrey
Photos by Amy Frances of Amy Frances Photography and Allison Wissink-Coleman

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Crappies and Cash—Register Today for Crappie Tournament

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY (2/20/13)—What fishing can offer a person is truly far-reaching. It provides an escape from the daily grind; it can create long-lasting family memories; it teaches diligence, discipline, and patience; it can provide physical sustenance; and it oftentimes presents a great environment for fun, friendly competition.

With a focus on the latter, Winding Creek Bait & Tackle owner, Barbara Wiles, is offering up a generous cash prize of $250 to whoever catches the largest crappie (weight-wise) between March 1st and April 30th—but you have to be registered to take the full payoff. What’s more, if the winner is 14-years-old or younger, Barbara will also throw in a Skeet Reese signature rod and reel outfit, complete with DVD and hat (a $50 dollar value).

But what’s the reason behind the competition?

Though the two-month crappie tournament is open to all ages, Barbara explains that, “I just want to see some area kids and their families out there fishing this year, and I’m willing to give away a couple of great prizes to make it happen.”

So what about the rules and guidelines?

• You must register at Winding Creek Bait & Tackle, which is located at 1635 Eastview Drive in Madisonville, KY, to be eligible to win the full $250 cash prize (as well as the rod and reel outfit if 14-years-old or under). If the angler with the largest catch is unregistered, they will receive a $100 cash prize.
• All ages and genders are welcome to compete.
• All fish must be weighed at Winding Creek during regular business hours.
• Participants may enter multiple fish throughout the tournament.
• All fish must be caught using a rod and reel equipped with live or artificial baits/lures.
• All fish will be weighed on the same scale.
• The weight of each fish will be recorded next to the participant’s name.
• The winner of the tournament will be announced at the end of April, 2013.

Even if you’re new to fishing, we’ve got some interesting facts and helpful tips lined up to help you catch that monster crappie and take the prize.

Quick Crappie Tips and Facts

For starters, crappies are a small, speckled breed (see main photo), and they are usually described as an “early year” fish, which means they can be caught in abundance during the first to the early quarter of a new year. Though there are two types of crappie—black and white—many examples found in the state of Kentucky are a hybrid of the two. In most instances, especially during this time of year, crappies like to remain in shallow, brush-filled areas. Locations that host fallen timber and debris in no more than 6-8 feet of water are your best bets for catching a “stunner.” Using smaller baits, such as crappie jigs and actual minnows, work best when trying to lure in these relatively diminutive fish. Make sure to check out the attached video below this article for more tips on using live minnows when crappie fishing. 

Where are some good locales to reel in crappie locally?

Though it’s rumored that one of the largest crappies ever recorded in the state of Kentucky (weight-wise) was captured in Madisonville’s Lake Peewee several years ago, the current record holder hales from Christian County. As the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife reports, west Kentucky resident Penny Hopper’s 4 pound, 14 ounce crappie behemoth hybrid, which was captured in a Christian County watershed in 2005, takes the state cake, so to speak. Yet, there are plenty of other great options for landing a scaly giant. For instance, check out Madisonville’s Grapevine Lake, the Madisonville City Park (or any local park lake), and any of our area’s public strip pits. The crown jewels of western Kentucky? As most seasoned anglers will agree, it’s a toss-up between Barkley and Kentucky Lake.

But wherever you go, and whatever bait you use, just remember to have a good time. That’s what this tournament is all about. Life is short, and so are the weekends, so get out there on the water and be safe. Who knows, you could wind up $250 and a few memories richer in the end.

Want to check out Winding Creek Bait & Tackle’s wide selection of lures, live bait, and equipment? Want to find that perfect, but rare lure? Visit their website by clicking here or give them a visit in person at 1635 Eastview Drive in Madisonville, KY. You can also check out their contribution to the Sugg Street Post by clicking here.

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short

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