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The Valley Reporter
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Incredible day of sunshine and fun

07/17/2008

 By Rita Brown and Gamal Abdul Ibn Buhania Blakey

Saturday, July 5, 2008, was the fourth and final Mad River Music Festival. The weather was perfect. The Bundy venue is an amazing site for a community event like this. The festival was well organized and the live music all day flowed smoothly and built to an evening of high energy dancing and celebrating. Jeh Kulu by the pond at 4:20 p.m. with sunlight streaming from above through the trees and shining on hundreds of smiling faces was a moment in time I will never forget.

I would like to thank my family for helping me through this intense time of hard work and stress. I would like to thank the 60 performing artists who were each unique and incredibly entertaining. I would like to thank all the vendors for their efforts and hard work, the food and art was awesome. I would like to thank all the volunteers and staff who made this event go smoothly. I would like to thank The Bundy Center for The Arts for bringing The Valley a beautiful place to gather. I would like to thank my sponsors for making this event possible. I would like to thank God for making me a vessel for bringing positive change to my community.

I like to live my life with no regrets; this event was an awareness event for organic foods in schools. Thousands of people were made aware of this cause through the marketing of this event and that is what is first and foremost important. I am sorry that The Valley chose to make other plans that evening instead of supporting one of the best days of music, food and art made possible since Ben and Jerry's One World One Heart Festivals of past years at Sugarbush.

Five hundred people showed up for the first half of the day when the Festival was free admission to all. Aside from the 200 artists/vendors and staff, only 100 tickets were sold during the second half. We needed another 500 sold tickets to break even and even though the ticket price was $29 -- what you usually pay to see one act was for 14 bands -- most Valley residents and visitors did not step up to the plate to support. Kids 12 and under were free all day. Those who did stay the whole day will tell you that it was an incredible day of pure sunshine and fun, love, peace, great music, food and art in the Mad River Valley.

Today I put my business up for sale and move forward with no regrets. I would, however, suggest that if the residents of this Valley do not support the few live music events that do take place in The Valley we will all suffer greatly as Gamal Buhaina once said in reference to the Mad River Music Festival

 "I enjoyed the Mad River Music Festival particularly as it demonstrated the diversity and richness that is realized when the performing arts are so generously shared. I love to see so many people of all ages come together on common ground and leave their differences behind and truly enjoy the universal language of music as well as each other. The arts give birth to an awareness that is essential to sustaining a well-balanced community that serves as a fine example for the world at large."

Rita Brown of Warren is the founder/producer of the Mad River Music Festival
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