By Brenda Showalter
High-energy, foot-tapping country music will fill Mill Race Park on June 30 with Summer Music Fest, a fundraiser for victims of the Marysville tornado.
Many Marysville residents saw their homes severely damaged or destroyed on March 2. Many lost personal items and are still struggling to recoup their losses and rebuild.
Paul and Amanda Arnold, of Seymour, and Julie Lowe, of Columbus, decided they wanted to put together a fundraiser after many trips to the area in southern Indiana to help repair homes.
“It just took your breath away,” said Amanda. “It made you thankful it wasn’t you, and your human instincts just kicked in. You wanted to help.”
Amanda and Paul are country music fans and frequently drive to Nashville, Tenn., where they often see performances by up-and-coming country singer July Michael.
They spoke with Michael after the Indiana tornadoes about the possibility of her helping with a benefit concert, and Michael helped connect them with a booking agent who put them in touch with other country singers and bands.
The performers are charging discounted rates for the day to show their support.
Michael also came to Mann’s Harley Davidson, in Edinburgh, in May for a “meet and greet” and to encourage early tickets sales. During the trip, she drove through the Marysville and Henryville areas to see the tornado damage.
“After seeing the destruction, she was even more motivated to help,” Amanda said.
Paul said he was thrilled that they were able to land the country group Confederate Railroad, well-known in country-music circles with several No. 1 songs on the country charts, including “Jesus and Mama,” “Queen of Memphis” and “Trashy Woman,” which earned the group a Grammy nomination.
Confederate Railroad received the Best New Group Award in 1993 from the Academy of Country Music, and has had 18 chart hits and sold 5 million albums.
“It’s just going to be a whole lot of fun,” Paul said about the day. “It will be a lot of Southern rock and definitely upbeat.”
The show also will include two area acts, Bigg Country and Untamed, to round out the nearly eight hours of country music performances.
“People are definitely going to get their money’s worth,” Amanda said.
The family-friendly day in the downtown park will also include food vendors, military vehicle displays brought in by Camp Atterbury and other activities.
Paul and Amanda said they have been thankful for the support of donors and sponsors, but still need plenty of volunteers to help sell tickets and food, assist with security and parking, help bands load and unload equipment, and cleanup.
They estimate they could use more than 100 volunteers to help the day run smoothly.
Sponsors who already have signed on are Arnold Brothers Construction, JCB, WKKG Radio, Mann’s Harley Davidson, Best Buy, Texas Roadhouse and Chili’s.
Paul said that Lowe, the Columbus resident, was a big help to have them set up the nonprofit group Do It for Your Neighbor to help channel proceeds to the tornado victims.
Lowe is assisting with other paperwork to create a process so Marysville residents can complete applications to help them with repairs that still need completed in their community.
“We want to spread it around as much as we can,” said Paul, adding that he also hopes they can help rebuild the heart of the town that was destroyed: the community center.
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