Bluegrass fest aims to help cancer patients

By Zach Jones -

The Bluegrass music community is a tightknit group of musicians and live music enthusiasts dedicated to honouring the genre’s rich heritage, culture and people.

In the spirit of community, promoter Pearl Hamilton Jr. is hosting the third annual Helping Families with Cancer benefit Sept 4 and 5 at the Richland County Fairgrounds. The music festival enlists some of the area’s top bluegrass ensembles to fill the weekend with two days of tunes.

“Our goal at the Helping Families with Cancer is to lift the financial burden off the families that are struggling with cancer,” said Hamilton. “We want to take care of some of the gas, hospital and utility bills.”

Hamilton has been part of the Bluegrass scene for the better part of 50 years.

“In 1960 at the age of 10 music became a big part of my life,” he said. “I started organizing a yearly bluegrass festival in Ohio with my brother Andy in 1979.”

Since, Hamilton’s brother and sister succumb to the disease his festival looks to assist families with.

“My granddaughter then was diagnosed with cancer in 2011,” he said. “She is doing better now but after seeing what our family had gone through I thought of a way I could help. You just don’t think about how costly things like gas money and missing work can be until you go through it yourself. 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 are donated to area cancer assistance.

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

The event comes complete with both RV and tent camping avaiability, as well food and art vendors. The festival begins Friday at 5 p.m. and is located at the Richland County Fairgrounds located 150 North Home Road in Mansfield.

By Zach Jones

Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at

Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at