With two years under its belt, the ETCP Spring Fest has become synonymous with craft beer, delicious food and great live music. This year, however, the festival has a new purpose: raising money for Jordan’s House.
Twenty percent of the day’s proceeds, in fact, will go to the organization named after Metro Spirit Publisher Joe White’s daughter Jordan, who was killed in September of 2012 by a drunk driver.
“She was a very artistic 19-year-old college student and she had attended the Art Factory a couple of summers in her early teens when they were in Harrisburg,” White explained. “The Art Factory closed their doors a couple years back but, while they were operating, they did a phenomenal job of placing art teachers in elementary schools in Richmond County.”
“So we have basically established a board, we’re using the template that the Art Factory had and we’re using a lot of the same people,” he continued. “It’s a continuation of the great work that the Art Factory did. It’s now Jordan’s House and we are responsible for raising money to fund placing these teachers in the Richmond County elementary schools so they can have an impact in these kids lives.”
Pat Williams, pastor of missions and care at Wesley United Methodist Church in Evans, has been asked to be on the board of Jordan’s House. (Besides Williams and White, other board members include Shane Thompson, Grant Sutton, Trey Enfinger, Doug Varnadore, Jim Beck, Phillip Hibbard and Leslie Hayes.) Thanks largely to her hard work, it has already made progress toward the goal of providing art teachers to Richmond County Schools. Through fundraising and the financial support from the community right after Jordan’s death, Jordan’s House has been able to provide an art teacher to fourth and fifth graders at Lamar-Milledge Elementary School in Harrisburg this entire school year.
“We really wanted to honor this community first because this is where the Art Factory began, in the Harrisburg community,” Williams explained. “So we thought, ‘Let’s just go back to the beginning.’ So there is now an art teacher there and there has been for the entire year because of funding from Jordan’s House.”
And the results, according to Lamar-Milledge Parent Facilitator Sonia England, have been nothing short of astounding. England said the feedback she’s gotten has been positive across the board, with students excited about the opportunity to study other cultures, learn a new vocabulary and produce their own works.
“Oh, it’s been phenomenal,” England said. “They did a project called Starry Night and, oh my gosh, the different spins on Starry Night that a lot of the children have put up? The artwork has just been phenomenal and you can definitely tell that the children are really, really enjoying it because they’re really in tune.”
It’s especially impressive, England said, given that the art teacher Jordan’s House has provided only gets to work with the children two days each week. But even that small amount of time has made a difference.
“She (the art teacher) has really, really brought a different look, a different feel, a different atmosphere, especially with the fourth and fifth grade because it channels into a different part of their brain that, at this point, if it wasn’t for her, wouldn’t have been tapped,” she said. “Because we do have a music program, but art and music art two different things. Bringing out that drawing, that expression on paper, that is totally different, so it’s been a great benefit for our students and our school.”
Jordan’s House, Williams said, would like to branch out and extend those benefits to other students and other schools. To do that, however, they need more funding. And that’s where White and his ETCP Spring Fest comes in.
“The event’s premise is really simple: Craft beer, good food and good music,” White explained.
Mike Marty with AB Beverage and Jim Beck with French Market Grille West have put together an impressive craft beer list, and there will also be a food truck rodeo that will include restaurants like Laziza Mediterranean Grill, Fat Man’s Mill Cafe, Kitchen 1454 and Crums on Central.
“And then we have Just Plain Smokin’, which is a local barbecue outfit that’s starting to really get some traction,” White said. They’re doing a great job. And we’ll also have cupcakes from Neapolitan Cupcake and Gift Shoppe.”
The live music, White said, is where the event will really shine.
“This year, I put a good deal of emphasis on the music part of it,” he said. “We have a number of artists who I know from my old days of co-owning the mission, which is now Sky City. My favorite part of being a part of the mission was coming up with the Album Cover Series, where I would approach a local musician and ask them to perform an album I chose in it’s entirety from beginning to end. We had Adam Hatfield do ‘Eat a Peach’ by the Allman Brothers, Michael Baideme did ‘Couldn’t Stand the Weather’ by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Elliot Holden did Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Are You Experienced’ and so many more. I enjoyed that concept so much, our headline act is nothing more than all these great musicians who played throughout the day going up on stage at once. And they’re just going to have at it.”
Bands and artists set to perform throughout the day, and during the headlining act, include Bennett Boswell, the Kenny George Band, Adam Hatfield, John Hearn and Drew Albenesius,Brian Kaye doing nothing but Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, and Tim Cadiere and Washboard Road Band. Fans can also expect appearances by Michael Baideme, Keith Jenkins, Adam Hatfield, Henry Wynn, Jr., plus a few more surprises.
“We have Bennett, Little Roy’s grandson, who’s now 14,” White said. “He goes to Greenbrier and this is the first time he’s played out in the Augusta area with his own band by himself. He usually plays with Little Roy and Lizzie but I went after him, pursued him, after seeing him the past two years at the Banjo b que, He’s booked and we’re very excited about that.”
And, yes, there is a reason that ID armbands for beer drinkers are $5.
“The reason being is craft beer has very little profit margin and putting on a festival like this is very expensive,” White explained. “And we wanted to be sure and raise thousands of dollars that will be going to Jordan’s House.”
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could now branch out, if there was enough funding through the event that’s coming up this Saturday, that some of the proceeds could directly affect more children?” Williams asked.