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Santa Rosa Beach, Fla. (November, 2018) – It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in October. The Gulley Amphitheater at Gulf Place was full of love and hope. Locals and visitors to 30A gathered to enjoy a day of music, food, and football, but above all else to help our neighbors affected so greatly by Hurricane Michael. 


Bands of 30A began last year with a heart to help those in Texas devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Since that time, Bands of 30a have held several charity concerts raising over $30,000 for various local charities, including Westonwood Ranch, Special Olympics of Walton County, and Food for Thought. 


This Charity Concert exceeded everyone’s expectations. “Having a storm of this magnitude hit so close to home and has been extremely emotional for us. We all live just a few miles east of where the storm hit. We realize it could have been us. There was no question that we had to do all that we could to help,” said Casey Kearney, Bands of 30a President. 


April Roach, Vice President of Bands of 30A, was vigilant in reaching out to sponsors for the event. “Our community has been so generous. People wanted an opportunity to help and Bands of 30A was able to give them just that. When going out to find sponsors for this concert, everything changed. It was heartfelt stories, personal, and emotional connections. It was the lives of so many being touched by our neighbors devastation.”


Attendees to the concert were asked to make a $10 donation for full-day access to the concerts. The line up of talent included Max Soelzer Band, a Songwriters Round featuring Luke Langford, Jessie Ritter, and Casey Kearney. Will Thompson Band was able to attend the concert and was the crowd’s favorite of the day with a standing ovation. Will is a resident of the Panama City area and experienced extensive damage to his personal home. He welcomed the chance to play. The Wildlife Specials, Rust and Gold (a Neil Young Tribute Band,) local favorites Cadillac Willy and Cumberland County (who traveled from Baton Rouge, LA) all graced the stage to support the relief efforts. ShoFar Stage Productions provided the sound and it went off without a hitch. 


Bands of 30A sold out of event T-Shirts, event Hats, and other merchandise that were donated by Sunrise Coffee Co., SoWal Stitchery, and iPromoteu with the proceeds going toward the cause. Grayton Beer Company, Oyster City Brewery Company, and Shunk Gulley provided beer for the event while Baytowne Provisions and McNeese Title took care of the wine. Chef Tom Ford with Sunside Catering cooked up the delicious food, including smoked mullet donated by Nick’s Seafood Restaurant. No stone was left unturned at the Concert! Tidewater Tailgating even provided a television set up so no one had to miss his or her favorite football game. Dillon’s Beach Services graciously donated seating for the event sponsors.  Of course, Gulley Amphitheater was the perfect venue for the capacity of this event. 

In-Kind Sponsors included Caught Your Moment Photography, 30A Life Photography, Unique Perspective Studios, Eloquent Signs, Side Hustle Graphic Design, Hilary & Reverie, Casey Kearney Music & 30A Event Planning. 


Lead Sponsors included Center for The Grace Foundation, Tribe Kelley Surf Post, Homes on 30A, Dunlap & Shipman, Luke & Blue’s, Coyote Ugly Saloon- Destin, O’Connell and Associates, Tim Kramer Photography, Bel-Mac Roofing, Inc., Panhandle Orthopaedics, and Baker Area Youth Association. 


Crystal Smith, Secretary and Event Coordinator of Bands of 30A stated, “We wanted to directly help the displaced children. We (Casey, April, and myself) all have children, so this was a main concern of ours as a whole. So many children not only lost their home but their churches and schools as well. They lost their sense of normalcy. We have been working closely with school district officials to make sure we are able to meet the needs of these children first.” 


Where exactly did the money go?


Wondering what we did with all the money our concert raised?! Here is the breakdown ...

We did extensive research and communicated with area school districts to directly provide for displaced students affected by Hurricane Michael. 

We delivered 800 backpacks and $10,000 worth of school supplies to The Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC.) They will deliver them to schools in these counties -Jackson, Washington, Holmes, Franklin, Calhoun, Gadsden, Gulf, and Liberty. 


A check for $15,000 was presented to the Florida Learns Foundation to aid in purchasing clothing items for the children. 


The Bay High School Million Dollar Band had great loss to their program due to storm damage. A check for $10,000 was given to the band to replace instruments, uniforms, equipment, etc. We enjoyed speaking with Principal Billy May, Ginger Littleton of the Bay County School Board, Chloe the drum major, Jake the band captain, Nick the band director. They have offered to perform at a future Bands of 30A concert and we can not wait to have them! 


A $5000 check was presented to Bay Elementary in Walton County to help manage the influx of new students enrolled because of Hurricane Michael. 

The rest of the funds were used to ensure that Santa visited these children at Christmas. Even though their chimneys and roofs might have been gone their parents were able to "shop" through hundreds of brand new toys and pick out just the right gifts. Batteries, wrapping paper and even bows were provided.

Thank you to everyone who has made all of this possible. We can not say it enough what a blessing you have been.