At CommUNITY Fest, a fundraiser held at Stickyz last Saturday evening to benefit Legends of Arkansas, it was announced that beginning in 2017, the annual outdoor festival will partner with Aaron Reddin’s The One, Inc. (The Van), a grassroots operation that works to locate and serve the homeless population in Central Arkansas, and to help those individuals eliminate barriers that keep them homeless.
Susie Cowan, executive director of Legends of Arkansas, cites music and community as the reasons for launching the annual concert in 2013, and for keeping admission free so that more families could attend, but says she was often confronted with the question, “What’s the cause?” The Legends of Arkansas team had been “fighting tooth and nail to keep it free,” Cowan said, becoming a nonprofit in 2014. After conversations with Reddin in late June at Vanapalooza about potentially moving that annual fundraiser outdoors, Cowan says her friend and advisor Mike Poe suggested they keep Vanapalooza as is, and hold Legends of Arkansas for the benefit of Reddin’s outreach. Cowan agreed and, to that end, the festival will introduce a $5 cover charge for the festival beginning next year. Children will retain free admission. “I’m still surprised to find out that people don’t know what The Van is, or about everything Aaron’s doing to help our homeless neighbors,” Cowan said.
CommUNITY Fest, a concert intended to connect Little Rock/North Little Rock police with the community they serve under the mantra “Everything changes when we know each other’s names,” Legends of Arkansas hosted performances from Big Piph, Paul Prater, Watertown, Go Fast and Chris DeClerk. Police officers received free admission with their badge, and admission was waived for any attendees who came with a $10 gas card for The Van in hand. Cowan reports that Legends of Arkansas raised just over $500, and that The Van raised around $255 in t-shirt sales and at least $70 in gas cards. Poe spoke about the positive impact the local police force had following the murder of Poe’s longtime friend and collaborator, T.C. Edwards.
As for 2016’s Legends of Arkansas, the lineup includes Amasa Hines, Sad Daddy, The Uh-Huhs, Jamie Lou & The Hullabaloo, Dangerous Idiots, Sarah Cecil, Charlotte Taylor & Gypsy Rain, Gus & Kevin Kerby, Gil Franklin, Mark Currey and Black River Pearl. Admission will remain free this year, and the festival takes place at 520 North Main St. in the Argenta District of North Little Rock on Saturday, Sept. 10, noon-10 p.m.