Tall Trees Music Fest: Local musicians play for charity

Local non-profit, Convergence Music, hosts music festival to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Brian Thomas

brthomas@ursinus.edu

This coming weekend, students will have an opportunity to get off campus, see live music, and benefit a great cause.

This year’s Tall Trees Music Fest will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, from noon until dark. It’ll have two stages with eleven bands, and all proceeds will go towards the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

The festival is hosted by Convergence Music, a local nonprofit started by Joe Webster. Convergence has hosted similar festivals for the past two years, and each year they hope to raise money for charities and promote local artists, according to Webster. The entire show takes place on a property he owns, where the Skippack and Perkiomen creeks meet. There are two stages, one for acoustic acts and one for full bands.

Webster, a veteran of the Air Force, created Convergence Music originally to raise money for veterans’ groups and generate publicity for local musicians. Soon after having the idea, he was connected with an old friend whose son had been granted a wish by the Make-A-ish Foundation.

“He reached his hand across the table and said, ‘you have a great idea, but you need a partner,’” said Webster. “So the partnership is between my kind of small nonprofit organization and Make a Wish, and we’ve done it that way for the past three years.”

A wide variety of acts will be playing at the festival. Webster, said that he was particularly excited to see Darla, a popular instrumental funk band, as well as a group called Statesmen. “They just have a silky smooth, very cool sound,” said Webster.

Among the eleven acts is Kessel Run, a band fronted by Ursinus senior Mike Muli. In addition to playing the show, Muli and fellow UC senior Nic Shandera are interning with Convergence. They’ve helped put together the event, and throughout the rest of the year they’ll both help plan next year’s.

For Shandera, who hopes to find a career organizing similar events, this will be a learning experience. “I really want to learn how to run an event like this,” he said, saying that he was especially excited to be an announcer.

Muli, who played at last year’s festival with a different band, said that he is looking forward to working with the live sound equipment and seeing the whole process for setting up an event like this. “It’s really exciting to do something so real world but also tightly related to my own interests,” he said.

Other acts include The Tyson Mill Band, Jeremiah Tall, Ben Webster, and Canadian Tuxedo. The entire lineup can be found on the Tall Tree’s Music Festival Facebook event page.

There are a couple of ways for students to get to the festival. The UC Outdoors club is hosting a group hike along the Perkiomen trail. They’re also providing transportation to the event for people who don’t want to walk, according to an email they sent to campus. There is parking at the event, and Webster said that it is about a 15 minute bike ride to campus.

“One thing we’re really focusing on in the next week is really trying to get the word out there to students,” said Shandera. “It’s a great time, it’s such a good time.”

In addition to music, there will be a drum circle, juggling acts, a dog whisperer, and opportunities to buy merchandise. The event is BYOB, and there will be food trucks there.

Muli and Shandera both stressed that the event is full of talented, professional artists. “People often think that the musicians are mediocre because it’s a free festival,” said Muli. “But the reason it’s free is pretty much for insurance purposes… and so that all the proceeds can benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. So all of the artists are doing it out of the goodness of their heart.”

The event is technically free, but the hosts request that attendees try to donate what they can to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Volunteering is also an option. People who volunteer for an hour will get a free t-shirt from the event, and aren’t expected to donate. Volunteers are needed before, during, and after the event.

Admission starts at noon, the first act kicks off at 1 p.m. and music will go until dark, at 110 Tyson Mill Road in Collegeville.

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