People travel from all around the globe to attend music festivals.

While some scoff at the ticket prices, many understand that the price tag is well worth the experience, as there are usually well over 20 different acts present, along with exclusive merchandise, incredible food and alcohol, and of course, a setting that will be the envy of every one of your social media followers, with memories that will last a lifetime.

Music festivals have somewhat become a rite of passage for millennials and Generation Z and are as important to the modern cultural landscape as Netflix or the iPhone.

This month, the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD) will be home to the Space Coast Music Festival (SCMF), and like other music festivals around the globe, there will be multiple stages, over 30 bands, exclusive merchandise and plenty of access to food and wine. However, unlike other music festivals, admission to SCMF is 100% free. All you need is money for food and beer – lots and lots of beer.

A PURPOSE-DRIVEN FESTIVAL

I met with one of the music festival’s organizers, Keenun Barley, who quickly explained that the festival isn’t being done for profit. The purpose of the festival is to raise money for local music education, so, the money raised at the event will go directly into buying musical instruments for Brevard County Schools.

“There will be no money transferring or anything,” said Barley. “We will just be working with distributors to buy the instruments ourselves and distribute.

“We are working with the Brevard Department of Education to figure out what the needs are as far as music programs and which schools need [instruments],” she continued.

Obviously, the music festival won’t be making any money off tickets. The festival’s sponsors helped cover the costs of the event itself, and the money raised off alcohol sales will be used to purchase the instruments. There will also be special Space Coast Music Festival tee shirts for sale at Standard Collective, the proceeds also going towards the purchase of instruments.

Though controversial in the past amongst parents and lawmakers around the country, music education has proven to be important in the lives of kids and has shown to have many positive academic and cognitive benefits.

According to research published on nammfoundation.org, some of the benefits of musical education includes: larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills, higher attendance records, higher standardized test scores, stronger everyday listening skills … the list goes on. More and more, it is being proven that music is more than just a fun hobby for children, but a core subject that can have a long-lasting positive impact.

Of course, ask any student involved in a music program, and you’ll also find they have a greater sense of belonging, which is extremely important for any child at any age.

THE DAY OF

Like any other music festival, there is a lot planned for the day. Starting at 11 a.m., there will be pre-festival yoga in the square, led by instructors from The Yoga Garden, Yogi Perogi and Florida Yoga Company. This will be a very informal yoga class, so the yoga instructors will be taking turns teaching, and guests are invited to come and go as they please.

As this is taking place on the first Saturday of November – November 2nd, to be exact – Fleagad will be running concurrent to the festival, so there will be plenty of opportunity to shop and support local artisans while enjoying the music.

With all of this, there will also be a hot dog eating contest with eight, pre-selected hot dog eaters, sponsored by Mustard’s Last Stand. You can also participate in an air guitar contest, and children can enjoy a, what was so delightfully dubbed, “musical petting zoo,” hosted by Grooveshack and Love Hut. Here, kids will have the opportunity to try out different musical instruments.

“You know how, sometimes, people are [telling kids], ‘oh, don’t touch that?’ Well we want kids to be able to touch and learn all about the instruments,” said Barley.

Little Sports will also be sponsoring an obstacle course for kids, and Cosmo’s, the world’s largest ice cream truck, will be in attendance. What more could you want?

As this is a music festival, we should probably discuss the musical lineup for the day. There will be six stages in total, three indoors and three outdoors. Each of the outdoor stages will be centered around one genre: one will be pop, one will be punk, and the other will be blues/jazz. All acts will be local and will be performing original music. No cover bands will be present.

COMMUNITY-CENTERED

What also makes this festival so unique, is the fact that it is entirely built upon and centered around community support. As Barely and I were talking about the event, there were multiple moments where she took a pause, and all she could say was, “it’s just truly incredible.”

And she’s right. This festival is incredible. Typically, events like this, especially on a first go around, take a minimum of a year to plan. However, she told me that, it just sort of came to be on a whim, and they’ve only been planning the event since May.

“Steven Spencer, he runs Harbor City Local, just became a nonprofit within the last month,” said Barley. “He’s in a local band, and what he does is go out to all the different venues and tries to create and promote a local music community through social media.

“We connected because of Plant-Based Brevard (which is run by Barley),” continued Barley. “But later, he reached out and wanted to chat because of Fleagad. He wanted to get some inside scoop with how things worked out with renting space and if I wanted help getting vendors … and, when we were talking, I know there was one point, we were talking about a good date that would be available for something like this, and he said, ‘wait are we actually doing this? Are we doing this?’”

Of course, they are doing this. Space Coast Music Festival will host thousands of music lovers, both local and from out of town.

Sponsors came from every corner of the county and were eager to donate funds to help support the local music scene of the Space Coast. This whole festival is truly community-centered, and a community effort.

Participating in this festival will not only be a great way to spend a Saturday, but will also be a great way to support a local music scene that is bustling with talent and passion, as well as support those young musicians who need access to better instruments.

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