TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Benefit festivals are a common occurrence. Typically the goal of the events are to raise money to help find a cure.
One Wabash Valley benefit festival is different.
The second annual Valley United Music Festival goes to more than just treatment costs and finding a cure.
“Ten years ago we identified that there was a need for a resource for cancer patients in the Wabash Valley that need immediate financial need for their pain medications, for utilities that have been shut off, to build ramps for their homes,” said Bobbi Southwood, event organizer from The Hope Center.
And although Southwood deals with cancer patients on a daily basis, the reason behind the event goes much deeper for her personally. Four years ago she lost her sister to lung cancer.
“That was the most hear wrenching thing I’ve ever had to do, was to tell my sister that she was going to die and that we need to get things in order for her family and her children,” Southwood said.
Hospice care was called in for Southwood’s sister so that she could pass away peacefully at home.
Her sister lost her battle with cancer only twenty minutes after getting home.
With the nature of her job at The Hope Center, Southwood deals with cancer patients on a daily basis. Putting on this event pulls at her heart strings, but also brings her joy.
“It’s been tearful at times, but when I see that I’m able to help someone, it’s so gratifying to me,” Southwood said.
The benefit festival is put on by The Hope Center and The Wabash Valley Musician’s Group.
President/CEO of the musician’s group, Matthew Westerfield, says local bands jump at this kind of opportunity.
“Historically artists and entertainers are some of the first to come out and join up for a cause,” Westerfield said. “So I don’t actually have a hard time finding musicians and band that want to be a part of this.”
While the event will provide plenty of fun and entertainment for those that attend, Southwood hopes that it encourages people to help lift up the spirits of those that have cancer.
“Because without hope, people give up and that’s what I don’t want them to do,” Southwood said. “I don’t want them to give up. Because say I can’t afford this, I don’t want them to give up.”
The festival is a weekend long event. Tonight the bands take the stage starting at 7 p.m. and run until midnight. Tomorrow the festival starts up at noon and runs until midnight. One day tickets cost $15, and tickets for both days cost $25.