Barnfest is the brainchild of Linden resident Phil Schmelter. Now in its seventh year, the annual music festival held in Phil’s barn generates food donations to assist needy individuals and families in the greater Linden-Fenton area. Phil and his friends started this endeavor with a concept of giving local homegrown bands a place to showcase their talents and inviting neighbors to come listen to a night of music. The cost of admission? Bring some canned goods to donate to a local church that assists families in need and homeless individuals in the community.
Phil and his friends started this endeavor with a concept of giving local homegrown bands a place to showcase their talents and inviting neighbors to come listen to a night of music. The cost of admission? Some canned goods for a local church that assisted families in need and homeless individuals in the community.
It has grown into a 2-day affair with 14 bands donating their talent on behalf of local charities. Scheduled this year for August 25th and 26th, the music kicks off at 4 pm both afternoons and continues to 11 pm each evening. The bands have one hour to set-up, perform, and clear the stage for the next group. Phil says, “The event has become so popular that we have a waiting list of 30 bands that would like to participate in the future.”
Last year’s Barnfest brought in donations of 4,000 pounds of non-perishables for local distribution. Phil’s goal this year, bump that up to 3 tons of food and daily essentials. And yes, they do take cash donations as well. Three area churches are enlisted to distribute the proceeds from this year’s festival.
How to Donate
Donations are already arriving at the Barnfest site, 6365 Lobdell Road in Linden. Phil told us, “We receive a good number of canned meals from people that don’t even attend the festival. They are aware of what we do and just want to help. Especially when the items received are being used to help folks in our own area.”
According to Phil, “Yes we do get people that show up with a can of Campbell’s soup and that’s cool. If that’s all they can afford then we are happy to give them the opportunity to help someone else.” He goes on to say, “Then others really think about what it takes to provide a family a meal. They show up with a canned ham, canned vegetables, canned fruit, paper plates and plastic silverware to eat with. It’s great to see the generosity of the people that live in our community.
Thinking About Attending
There are 10 acres of parking at the site, some folks bring campers and hang out for the weekend. The attendees are courteous and even though the event has grown big enough that Phil has to hire security. He say’s, “The security is more for logistics, parking, etc. We have never experienced rowdy behavior. People understand what the event is all about and they come to enjoy a laid back fun time.”
Phil reminds those attending this year that parking on Lobdell road is not advised and if parking in adjacent neighborhoods to be courteous and respectful of local residents. It’s all about great music, great fun, and helping those area residents that can use a hand. Check out Barnfest, send us your pictures, and we will post a photo gallery of this year’s event.
Contact Steve via e-mail steve@theLascoPress.com and follow on Twitter @steve_tlpress.