Music for the Mountains Wrap Up!


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During the same exciting period as Lexington Loves Mountains, Kentucky Rising’s weekend visit with the Governor, and an unbelievable I Love Mountains Day, were a couple of exciting events in the Northern Kentucky area aimed at helping end the destructive practice of mountaintop removal. The Friday before I Love Mountains Day, the Northern Kentucky Chapter joined with Ohio Citizen Action, Intercommunity Justice and Peace Committee, NKU ECOS, and Sierra Club members from northern Kentucky to Miami, OH to bring Mari-Lynn Evans to the University of Cincinnati’s MainStreet Cinema to present her documentaries Low Coal and Coal Country.   


The very next night, thanks to the hard work of a variety of area musicians, most notably those of Magnolia Mountain, there was a concert at the Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky. The concert split proceeds between KFTC and Ohio Citizens Action, featured a new CD to benefit both organizations, and limited prints from artist Keith Neltner!


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Melissa English, of Ohio Citizens Action and Magnolia Mountain, was amazed at the success of the event, which she attributed to the success of advertising the event by the bands, the organizations, and local sponsors like Goodsleeve, WNKU, and Shake It Records. More amazing was the fact that the concert sold out less than two hours after the doors opened!


Asa Roberts, a new member who heard about the event from City Beat (a free local alternative paper in the Cincinnati area), described the event as a ‘godsend’ for giving him the opportunity to plug into the fight to stop mountaintop removal. Though already familiar with the issue, he described Jeff Biggers of the Huffington Post’s speech about the issue absolutely inspiring, telling other members he wished he could have had the event on DVD to watch it over again.


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Jeff Biggers was not the only person to speak at the event. Melissa English spoke on behalf of Ohio Citizen Action, and KFTC member Ben Baker told his story of how he came to learn about the destruction in Appalachia. Each shared their experiences, but Ben’s unique story of discovering mountaintop removal while learning to fly was heartfelt, and many of the people in attendance heeded his call to join us at I Love Mountains Day.


Jeff Hampton, who spent most of his night helping with the merchandise table in the Parlor, said that for many of the people who spent their time outside of the Ballroom, "it was hard to actually ‘see’ any of the bands, but they all sounded incredible.â€


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While everyone enjoyed the music, there was no clear crowd favorite. Rick Traud picked Jake Speed and the Freddies, Asa Roberts picked The Tillers and Magnolia Mountain, but Melissa English picked Bob Dionisi and Mike Oberst for their live performance of Coal Creek March.


Everyone was surprised by the huge success, as no one expected the show to sell out before 10 o’clock. Some members heard the people at the door had to turn away over 100 people, and many attendees were keen on the idea of coming back to a similar concert.


While this may or may not happen, Jeff Hampton reflected that it was such a shame to turn away so many people who were willing to learn more about the issue of mountaintop removal, and that there is a clear desire in the community to learn how to stop this practice.


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