Bluegrass community comes together for benefit

Staff report

Those in the bluegrass music community know how much fun attending a bluegrass music festival can be, but the good times are so much sweeter when the attendees know that they are also supporting a worthwhile cause.

Such is the case with the third annual Helping Families with Cancer bluegrass benefit concert, taking place September 4 and 5 at the Richland County Fairgrounds in Mansfield.

Festival promoter Pearl Hamilton is no stranger to hosting bluegrass festivals in Ohio, or to the effect that cancer can have on a family.

Hamilton, who was responsible for promoting and hosting the largest bluegrass festival in Ohio during the 1980s, lost two siblings to cancer, including his brother in 2010. “After losing my brother Andy, my granddaughter was also diagnosed with cancer in 2011,” Hamilton said. “She was treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus and they got her fixed right up.”

Hamilton said that it was while his granddaughter was being treated that he and his family realized how expensive the hidden costs of receiving cancer treatments can be.

“You just don’t think about how costly things like gas money and missing work can be until you go through it yourself,” Hamilton said. “That’s why I started this festival, to help families that are having a hard time with those expenses.”

All of the profits earned from the Helping Families with Cancer festival (after deducting expenses like entertainment and venue fees) are donated to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and are reserved to be used by families that are helping a loved one receive the life-saving cancer treatments they need.

However, the admirable goal set by Hamilton is not the only reason to attend the festival. This year’s Helping Families with Cancer festival features an entertainment line-up that is second to none. Scheduled to perform are some of the most well-known acts in bluegrass music such as bluegrass legend Dave Evans, and bluegrass music stars Ralph Stanley II, Judy Marshall, and a host of very popular regional bands.

A weekend pass to the Helping Families with Cancer festival is only $50 which includes a hog roast and over 16-hours of live musical performances throughout the weekend.

Staff report