By Ida Brown / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
There's something for everyone at this weekend's Music in May Festival.
Sponsored by Faces Lounge, the premiere event will feature outdoor daytime fun for all ages as well nighttime music entertainment for adults. And while the festival will celebrate the liveliness of spring, it also will help to generate funds to improve the livelihood of a Meridian resident.
"The Music in May Festival is our way of giving back to our community on a larger scale – quality entertainment, fun and fellowship," said Stephanie Wright, a spokesman for Faces Lounge.
The festival also is an opportunity for local residents to give back to a fellow resident – Mateia Matthews, who was born with polycystic kidney disease, a chronic condition that results in kidney failure.
"She was diagnosed at the age of 15, and with medication we were able to hold it off for about 10 years," said Laurie Matthews, Mateia's mother.
Mateia began dialysis this week and is on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.
"Due to her age, the doctors say she is a good candidate for the transplant," Matthews said.
Until the kidney transplant process is complete, the partners of Faces have agreed to assist the family with treatment costs. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from Music in May Festival will benefit the Mateia Matthews Kidney Treatment Fund.
"This is an opportunity for the people of Meridian to reach out and help somebody who truly needs it," said Dr. Ronnye Purvis, a partner of Faces.
In addition, United Blood Services will be at the festival site from 1 p.m.-7 p.m. to support the Mateia Matthews Kidney Treatment Fund.
Highlights of the day include Face the Music for Kids, a kids arts and crafts corner which also will include games.
"Children will have the opportunity to make musical instruments and perform in their own band," Wright said. "We also will have Mother's Day crafts for them."
A Diva Dash will take place after 4 p.m. Ladies AND gents are encouraged to participate by dashing to the finish line in high heels. A registration fee of $10 will include participation in the dash and access to the festival. Prizes will be awarded to winners.
And what festival would be complete without food? The appetizing aromas of hamburgers, Polish dogs, cotton candy, popcorn and funnel cakes will fill the air. Pickles, chips, candy other palate-pleasing offerings will also be available. Food and beverages will be sold separate from the entry fee.
Music entertainment will begin in the early afternoon and continue throughout the night, and will feature a wide genre of styles and artists from Jackson, New Orleans and Birmingham. The first two artists will perform outdoors, the last inside.
• Jarekus Singleton, from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. – At age 28, the Jackson native has gained the title “The New Face of Blues."
Singleton released his first CD, Heartfelt, in 2011 and has had two songs from that CD chosen for airplay and in regular rotation since mid 2012 on B.B. King’s Bluesville on XM/Sirius Radio, the most-listened-to blues radio station in the world. Singleton was named Guitar Center’s "King of the Blues in Mississippi" in 2011, and was labeled a “star on the rise” by Blues & Rhythm magazine in the UK.
He was chosen as 2012 Blues Artist of the Year by the Jackson Music Awards and 2013 Best Local Blues Artist by the Jackson Free Press.
• Ashton Hines and the Big Easy Brawlers, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. – Touted as "the band without a genre, the New Orleans band was founded by Lord Ashton "RedBull" Hines.
Ashton is a young trumpet player who also plays drums. He has played in and lead many of New Orleans young brass bands and has played in a host of traditional brass bands and New Orleans funk bands. Now his goal is to step out on his own and do something new that takes all he's learned over the years from brass band, marching band,church, jazz, gospel, hip hop and all other genres of music and mix it all up into a big gumbo pot of musical joy.
The New Orleans-based group has been dubbed "the up and coming" band to follow, according to event organizers. Guitarist Joshua Benitez, former leader of A New Light Joshua, also plays piano and bass and is experienced in a wide range of musical genres.
• Yung Vokalz and Precision Grooves (Birmingham) also known as YVPG, from 10 p.m.-1 p.m. – Being a product of the Birmingham area neighborhoods, schools and surroundings have been vital to the culture and vast genre of music that YVPG displays on stage, with all members having a strong church upbringing that played an important role in the development of such a vibrant and wide range of sound. YVPG ranges from hip to traditional rhythm & blues with a heavy amount of rock & roll, jazz & soul.
YVPG’s personnel weld together the power and force that energizes the dancing shoes of even the most discriminate listener. Pulling material from some of the most popular artists of today, to timeless legends of the past, YVPG has a vast flavor of sounds, and blend their own original sound in well with the classic covers they re-live. Currently YVPG Vokalz and Precision Groove are paying their dues, introducing their music all over the Southeast and working on their first self-titled album.