Fest will aid multiple charities
It all started with a few ideas bandied about, all of them with good intentions. Now, it’s on the verge of becoming a reality.
Mike Bernard is one of a group of St. Charles Parish residents who has long wanted to create something that could benefit the area and, ideally, one lasting year after year.
At first, Bernard notes, the chatter of a fundraiser sputtered out a couple of years ago. But discussions of a concert took root earlier this year and it blossomed into plans for a full-fledged music festival.
In October, the St. Charles Rockin River Music Fest will debut for a weekend of fun, food and music for a good cause. Scheduled Oct. 13 and 14 outside the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center in Luling, the event’s proceeds will benefit charities including the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is dedicated to the fight against breast cancer.
“We were looking for a way to give back and generate money,” Bernard said. “We’re trying to bring in some national talent to really get people excited. It’s in October, during breast cancer awareness month, and it became a natural fit (to work with Susan G. Komen).”
Bernard credits his friend Eddie LeClere, a Louisiana native and event manager who will produce the show, with being a driving force behind the event.
“He does this for a living … he’s been after me to find a venue for a concert down here,” Bernard said. “We decided to give him a call while we were brainstorming and now, here we are, on the brink of making it happen.”
Among the acts scheduled are Dee Snider (Twisted Sister), Shooter Jennings, Molly Hatchet, Great White, Blackfoot, and Christopher Shayne.
Former Bad Company star Brian Howe was also slated to play the festival, but he had to withdraw for health-related reasons this week.
A statement was released on Howe’s Facebook page that said, “Some of you may have heard that Brian was taken to the hospital yesterday after suffering what was later determined to be a cardiac event. He is presently resting following successful surgery and is in the capable hands of a great medical team who are taking care of his every need. Your thoughts and good wishes are appreciated. We hope Brian will be back on stage, where he belongs, very soon.”
Each night will have its own theme: Friday will be southern rock night, while Saturday night will have a more broad rock and roll theme.
“Eddie suggested two different genres for each night in order to attract as broad an audience as possible,” Bernard said.
Bernard said the festival planners have had a warm and enthusiastic reception from both the St. Charles Parish government and the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office. Others, like Dat Dads’ Club of Luling, who will be among those supplying and cooking food for the event, have reached out to lend their help.
There is a bittersweet aspect of all of it for Bernard. His best friend, Richard Martindale Sr., who Bernard credits with starting the fundraiser discussions in the beginning, passed away last month.
“He wanted to create something that would last past us, to continue to generate funds for the parish and the needy after we were gone,” Bernard said. “He passed away during the implementation stage in its first year. So, this all means even more to me now.”
He said the hope is for the Rockin Music Festival to be a yearly event. The group has been visiting potential sponsors and Bernard said about 20 have already signed on to help make the event a reality.
The event will take place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Oct. 13 and then from noon to 11 p.m. on Oct. 14.
For more information about the event, to buy tickets or to sponsor, visit www.stcharlesrockinrivermusicfest.com.