The festival raised awareness and funds for the Domestic Violence Intervention Center, the benefactor of the event.
Upon entering the festival, visitors were greeted by volunteers and were able to browse the wares of local vendors, purchase refreshments and food or claim a spot on the grounds to enjoy the music of local bands.
Saturday’s music featured a mix of rock and blues, including Dooley’s Blue Revue, Martha’s Trouble, Red House Revival, My Brother’s Van, Left Hand Groove and Ernest Goes to Jazz.
Sunday, dedicated to gospel music, featured The Jesus Squad, The Anointed Hands Sisters, The Noisy Deirdre String Band and several other gospel acts.
“I loved the music,” said Elizabeth Buffington, freshman in marketing. “I’m glad to be in a town that comes together to help each other with something as awful as domestic violence. I feel much safer knowing that if I were to ever go through that, there are people out there ready to help.”
The DVIC hoped to raise awareness of a serious problem in Lee and neighboring counties as well as funds for its shelter, Safe House, said DVIC Board President Tom O’Shea.
O’Shea said a music festival was chosen to catch the interest of the community and was an event that would mesh well with an Alabama summer.
“At least half our effort for the festival is geared toward getting our message out there—about the kind of services we provide, the help we offer—so the festival will be successful no matter how much money it brings in,” O’Shea said.
O’Shea said he hopes events like the music festival will convince the community to volunteer with the DVIC.
DVIC Executive Director Lisa Jackson-Stephens said she wants the public to understand the importance of events like these.
“We also hold this event to help more people know about the problem of domestic violence and about the services we offer our community,” Jackson-Stephens said.
The DVIC operates the sole shelter for victims of domestic violence in Lee, Macon, Randolph, Chambers and Tallapoosa counties.
According to www.acjic.alabama.gov, domestic violence remains a serious problem in Alabama, particularly among nonmarried couples.
In 2009, the Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center listed 12 percent of all violent crimes in Alabama as domestic violence cases. Seventy-seven percent of victims are women, while in every classification of domestic violence, the most frequent victim is the girlfriend or ex-girlfriend. The incidence of domestic violence in Alabama increased from 2008 to 2009, with 10 percent of all violent crimes in 2008 being domestic violence cases.
O’Shea emphasized domestic violence cuts across all lines, cultures and age groups.
On Dec. 9, 2010, at the Marriott at Grand National in Opelika, the Taste of East Alabama will include samplings of the foods from local restaurants and live music from local acts.