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A lot of planning and hard work has been put into the upcoming Dogwood Music Festival 2012 that will take place right here in Moultrie, Georgia on April 21.

Starting at 5 p.m., the gates to the Family Living Building at Spencefield will open to a fantastic night of music and fun. This will be a musical celebration of the thousands of dogwood trees that recently bloomed throughout the area. I think that this year was the most beautiful I have ever seen in my eight years of living here. The dogwoods and the azaleas seemed to explode with blooms at the same time!

This entire music festival started when Matt Friedlander expressed interest in creating an event that celebrated the beauty of the dogwood tress. Matt and his wife Jacqueline then made a generous cash donation to get things started. Mattco Realty’s commitment to distributing dogwood seedlings free to residents every year has become an annual tradition. My hope is that this musical event will also become an annual event for years to come.

The Dogwood Music Festival 2012 will kickoff with the line-up consisting of King Cotton, Yankee Slickers, and The Kinchafoonee Cowboys and will close with featured headliner Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, who have toured with R.E.M. and The Who. The concert will start at 6 p.m., at Spence Field, site of the Sunbelt Agriculture Exposition. Tickets are $10 in advance, and $15 at the door. You can purchase tickets online at www.dogwoodmusicfestivalmoultriega.com or in person at the Colquitt County Arts Center (229-985-1922).

In addition to Mattco Realty, the Sunbelt Ag Expo, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Council for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Colquitt County Arts Center, the Colquitt County Chamber of Commerce were all involved in the initial planning and financing. However, local excitement for the possibilities of the event caused it to bloom far beyond the original concept. The Dogwood Music Festival is now envisioned as an annual event that will bring notable musical groups and types of music to the Plantation Trace Corridor of southwest Georgia, and is expected to draw visitors from Tifton, Valdosta, Tallahassee, Albany, and beyond.

Businessmen Attorney Patrick Kunes, Dr. James Huffman, and Attorney Hayden Willis are the driving force behind the expanded concept of the Dogwood Music Festival. Their vision, as well as their personal efforts at fundraising, promotion, and organizing, has transformed the event. The Colquitt County Arts Center Staff and Arts Center Board Members are working hand-in-hand with them to make it all happen. Alex Malone is the liaison from the Board of Directors; Jane Simpson wrote the original grant that got the ball rolling, and is responsible for the budget; Lin Sheffield is responsible for contracts, marketing/promotion, ticketing, and Web site and print design; Beth Jeter is heading up hospitality for bands and sponsors; Mary Ann Robinson is the fiscal agent; and McKenna Linn designed the logo. This is clearly a team effort!

The Sunbelt Expo and the City of Moultrie will provide in-kind services to help make the event possible. Food and beverage concessions will offer sandwiches, barbeque, pizza, beer, and soft drinks. T-shirts and music CDs will be available for purchase. Parking will be available at the Expo site for $5 per car. Parking opens at 4 p.m., and music starts at 6  p.m.

If you’d like to volunteer or be a sponsor to help with this event, please call Lin Sheffield of the Arts Center at 229-985-1922, and she will put you to work!

We would like to also thank our newly acquired sponsors for this event:

CRMC, Ice House America, Coca Cola, Standard Discount Corp., Mobley Gin, International Forest Co., Robb Howell, Dr. & Mrs. James Huffman, Patrick Kunes, Justin Weeks, Biotek Labs, Moultrie Eye Center, Tarragon Grill, Turning Point Hospital, and Clements Printing.       

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