oot-stomping bass and heavy guitar licks will ring across the parking lot of Hoosier Brewhouse in Franklin this weekend.

People will have a chance to simmer in some of the area’s most talented roots, rock and blues artists while sipping on locally made craft beers. Hear bands led by local legends and musicians who have performed with John Mellencamp and Henry Lee Summer.

All the while, you’ll be raising money to help girls in Johnson County build confidence, develop lifelong skills and forge friendships.

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The Hoosier Music Fest will feature six regional bands in a community block party at Hoosier Brewhouse in Franklin. The inaugural event will support Girls Inc. of Johnson County, helping the organization raise the approximately $200,000 needed for renovations and refurbishments inside its facility.

“We were trying to do something that was unique, that not every not-for-profit was doing,” said Sonya Ware-Meguiar, CEO of Girls Inc. of Johnson County. “We’re hoping that we’ll do pretty good at this, and raise a good amount of money. The capital campaign is a multi-year thing, so we’re hoping that this can be a starting point to do next year.”

Proceeds from the benefit concert will go towards an ongoing capital projects campaign. Since launching the campaign in 2014, the organization has been able to complete $103,000 in extensive exterior repairs and additions, including new paint, a repaired porch and building a wheelchair ramp.

Girls Inc. officials are now focused on improving the interior of their 140-year-old building. Expanded bathrooms, new drywall and lighting in the programming rooms and a complete overhaul of the kitchen are part of the $200,000 project.

The music festival sprang from the imaginations of Jeff Byrd and Jack Taylor, both members of the Girls Inc. campaign committee as well as musicians performing during the event.

In discussions about creative ways to raise money for the capital campaign, they suggested a concert.

“Since I’m a musician, the first thing I thought was, ‘Not another golf outing,’” said Byrd, whose band Jeff Byrd & the Wires will perform during the festival. “This isn’t a new idea or anything — have a concert, raise some money for a nonprofit. But we thought it was something different for this area.”

Though the idea first came up in early 2016, venues, sound equipment and other logistics didn’t come together last year in order to get the concert off the ground, Byrd said. Re-approaching it earlier this year, they found a perfect partner in Hoosier Brewhouse to provide the venue

Tents will be put up in the brewing company’s parking lot, and Hoosier Brewhouse will donate 10 percent of food and beverage sales from the day. The brewery also has offered to open up its interior space if weather makes an outdoor concert unfeasible.

“(Owners) Brian Nentrup and his wife Stephanie are both great people and were on board with it, and wanted to offer up the outside,” Byrd said. “The great thing about the brewhouse is it’s very family-friendly. The kids can be there, it’s not like you have to be 21-or-over to be there.”

With a venue established, the musical lineup quickly came together. Taylor plays bass with Dane Clark, who has been the drummer for John Mellencamp for the past 26 years, and his eponymous band. Frank Dean, who is a towering figure in local music and owns Frank’s Guitars in Franklin, will perform.

Bluesy garage rockers Brother O’ Brother, rootsy quintet the Jeremy Vogt Band and classic-rock leaning Tony Burton Band rounds out the rest of the festival.

“We wanted to mix it up a little bit. We have a band that will play some covers that everyone knows, and then we’ll have a lot of original music — Americana, country, rock,” Byrd said. “It’ll be a diverse night of music.”

Sponsors also have stepped up to help cover the costs of sound equipment and tents.

The slate of musical talent will be the highlight of the all-ages festival. But organizers also are featuring kids’ games and other activities for the entire family, Ware-Meguiar said.

“We tried to make it extremely affordable. Tickets are only $10, so that all of our families could come and enjoy it,” she said.

With this being the first year for the music festival, Girls Inc. officials are unsure how much money the event will bring in. But the hope is that the event will be successful enough to build off of for future festivals, Ware-Meguiar said.

“When you see people who are that caring and compassionate in the community, who want to help you and support you, it means the world to you,” she said. “We’re very blessed that Johnson County has a very good community that pulls together and helps each other.”

If you go

Hoosier Music Fest

What: An all-ages music festival featuring a slate of roots, rock and Americana bands well known throughout the region.

Who does it benefit: The event is a fundraiser for Girls Inc. of Johnson County. Proceeds for it will go towards its capital improvements campaign to renovate and remodel the interior of their Franklin facility.

When: 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hoosier Brewhouse, 157 Holiday Place, Franklin

Tickets: $10

Bands performing

  • The Dane Clark Band: Led by Clark, a singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist and longtime drummer with John Mellencamp
  • The Jeremy Vogt Band: Veteran Indianapolis roots rockers
  • Brother O’ Brother: Franklin natives and garage blues rockers in the vein of the Black Keys and MC5
  • Frank Dean: Local music legend with groups such as Sindacato, Hillbilly Central and Snakehandlers), also owner of Frank’s Guitars
  • Tony Burton Band: A classic rock covers outfit led by Burton, who has played guitar for Larry Crane, Henry Lee Summer and Road Master.
  • Jeff Byrd & the Wires: Heartland rock led by singer-songwriter-guitarist Byrd.

Information and tickets: Go to HoosierMusicFest.com

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.