Newsmakers: Redwood Coast Music Festival

REDWOOD NEWS: Here it is. The Redwood Coast Music Festival is coming up October 5th through October eighth with venues all over Eureka. Lynn McKenna, one of the event organizers, joins us with information about the event. Hi, Lynn. Can you tell us how the festival got its start?

LYNN MCKENNA: It got started about 34 years ago with a need to raise money to fund some local senior programs and a great need to stimulate our local economy.

REDWOOD NEWS: Speaking of seniors and music, can you tell us how does music affects people in these kinds of festivals?

LYNN MCKENNA: Well, music can be a source of enjoyment, pleasure, relaxation, helping to relieve stress. And it’s all around us in nature. And so, studies with Alzheimer’s have shown that music is really important to seniors as it is to all ages. And so, we invite seniors to, you know, free opening ceremonies. And it started out as a Dixieland jazz festival because that was a really popular music. And over the years we morphed into a bigger variety of music to attract a wider audience.

REDWOOD NEWS: What other local programs is the music festival health benefit?

LYNN MCKENNA: Well, when I became on the board, I was an elementary school teacher and I felt music was really. I still do feel music is really important to kids. We don’t have the youth learn the different styles of music that’s going to die out, and that’s kind of what was happening with jazz. So we partnered with the schools we did. I organized the children’s concerts that the kids involved helped with support music programs in the schools, playing instruments, giving grants to students to go to outdoor area competitions and scholarships.

REDWOOD NEWS: The festival has really broadened the types of music this year. There’s Western swing, rhythm and blues, Cajun, small combo dance bands. It’s all reflecting American roots music. It’s now open to showcase so many different styles.

LYNN MCKENNA: And that we did that for a reason because the more types of music we present, the wider audience will get. And we also have a huge core group that comes for dancing. Every one of our venues has dance floors, and we were one of the first festivals to really tie dancing in with the festival.

REDWOOD NEWS: And how can the community HELP? .

LYNN MCKENNA: That can help us in two ways by buying tickets and attending the festival, you can get tickets on our website or at Redwood Capital Bank, and they’re on sale right now till the end of the month. Or you can volunteer. We desperately need volunteers, and the volunteer form is also on the website.

REDWOOD NEWS: Thanks for joining us today.

LYNN MCKENNA: Thank you for having me.

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