Every festival season is different from the last, and we’re always excited to see what the new season brings. The homegrown Secret City Festival is one of our favorites, and it brings new surprises, challenges, and memories. This year, all of those can be summarized with one word: RAIN! Despite the weather, United Way of Anderson County was thrilled to be a part of the Festival again this year, both in our pre-festival Battle of the Bands: Rocking the Ridge, and through selling beer at the Loverboy concert!

           Battle of the Bands: Rocking the Ridge 2019 was our second band battle and was bigger than ever expected. The evening was beautiful, and over 250 people cheered on thirteen local bands, who all competed for a chance to perform before the SCF concerts that weekend. The age range of the performers was surprising, and one of our favorite things to see was the older bands supporting and teaching the younger players. It was awesome to see a guitarist with over 40 years of experience giving tips and tricks to someone just starting out. And the audience support for all the performers was exciting and heartwarming – from everyone dancing right next to the stage to folks bopping along in their chairs, you all helped make this such a fun evening! Apart from showcasing the incredible talent in our own communities, Battle of the Bands is, of course, a fundraiser for UWAC. This year, we raised over $2,000 through donations and sponsorships! So thank you to everyone who supported this event and made it such a huge success. Some specific shoutouts are also in order: thank you to M&M productions for providing equipment and running sound so expertly the whole evening; to Waffley-Good food truck and Crafter’s Brew for serving delicious food and beer for the evening and contributing so generously to our fundraising; to Jamie from Lane Music for providing backline equipment for the whole show; to the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce for the use of their parking lot; and to Explore Oak Ridge and Katy Jett for sponsoring the band t-shirts and championing the whole event. Every one of you made the night a success!

Photo credit: Clinton Courier

Apparently, we used all our good weather at Battle of the Bands, and Secret City Festival dawned – now infamously – wet and stormy. Still, we were ready for Friday night’s Loverboy concert, and the concert goers were ready for beer. We had an awesome crew of volunteers selling drinks, coozies, raffle tickets, and eventually ponchos!  All of the proceeds from these sales support UWAC and our agencies, and we love this opportunity to interact directly with our community and our donors. We want to thank, as always, Eagle Distributing Company for providing us with such a great selection of drinks, and for making the whole process so simple and easy. And congratulations to Madalynn Miller for winning our raffle prize of a Grizzly Cooler also provided by Eagle Distributing Company!

           Even though the weekend was mushy, the community made the most of it and had a ton of fun. THANK YOU to every volunteer, friend, and neighbor who helped, bought a beer, came to Rocking the Ridge, or just said “Hey!” You are amazing and helped support our mission. Together we fight, together we win.