Meridian Tribune Article about Moonlight Music Festival

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Moonlight Music Festival
 
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Staff photo / Meridian Tribune
During a press conference at the Bosque Bottoms Jan. 3 Mary Duty, next to her son Caleb, explained her commitment to her son’s endeavor to organize a music festival/fundraiser Labor Day weekend in Meridian
Meridian to host Moonlight Music Fest
by Staff report
 (Posted 1/10/2012 09:47 am)

In a press conference held Jan. 3 at the Bosque Bottoms, Iraqi Freedom-veteran Caleb Duty announced Meridian was hosting the Moonlight Music Fest he is organizing. With the country music festival, Duty wants to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers returning from war. Duty and his family hope to draw a large crowd by engaging several big name bands to the two-day event, planned for Labor Day weekend. “If your motives are right, and your heart is right, things will work out,” Bosque County Judge Cole Word said at the press conference, explaining his support of the music festival. “Caleb’s motives are right. We need people like him, with his experiences to help others. Caleb is called to give back and help other vets to get back into their communities and families. God bless you for stepping out. I am proud of this day. I am proud of you.” Duty originally wanted to host the festival-fundraiser on the family’s 121-acre homestead, but Robinson’s City Council shot down his proposal, as neighbors were concerned about noise, security issues and trash dumping. On hearing this, local veteran Ronnie Ogel contacted Word, encouraging him to support Duty. According to Word, Facebook did the rest. Word contacted Mary, Duty’s mother through Facebook. And the ball got rolling, starting with the National Barbecue Cookoff Board allowing the event to take place in the Bosque Bottoms. “Caleb’s got his bases covered,” Meridian Police Officer Chris Blanton said. “With the assistance of North Bosque EMS and the Meridian Volunteer Fire Department, we don’t expect any big problems.” Duty expressed his thanks to Meridian for welcoming him with open arms and for the support he has received. At this time Duty is not at liberty to disclose names of the Texas Country musicians they are negotiating with, but the name Billy Joe Shaver was mentioned. Shaver is a family friend. “I was lucky,” Duty, who served two tours of duty in Iraq in the Marine Corps said “When I returned home, I could go to work in my father’s restaurant – Poppa Rollo’s Pizza in Waco. My concerns are for the guy who doesn’t have a family, who doesn’t have a place to go work, who can’t get his questions answered.” Duty was fortunate enough to find his way to his local Veterans from Foreign Wars and American Legion. “My generation does not go to a VFW or AL posts,” Duty said. “But I got so much help there in the transition back to civilian life. I want younger vets to be aware of the help they can get there, so they can avoid the heartache and troubles veterans go through. If we can make VFW posts and American Legion posts more enticing to younger people, they might actually go, they might actually see and speak to Vietnam veterans and get the advice and help that they didn’t get whenever they got out.” “We need to keep our promise to our young people,” Duty’s mother, president of the Heart of Texas Blue Star Mothers of America, said. “They need our support, because when they come back from war, it is not over. Sometimes it’s only just begun.” Duty wishes to include other activities during the May 25-26 event, like a barbecue cookoff, a horse-shoe competition, a volleyball tournament and classic car show. He also expects to attract vendors. Tickets for the May 25-26 event will be around $15 per day. The next step in the organizational process is finding sponsorships to cover the band fees and other costs. Duty has already worked six months preparing the event. Proceeds from the event will benefit a residential therapy program for veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder at the Waco Veterans Affairs.

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