Music festival returns for fight against Alzheimer’s

Published 9:00 am Friday, May 17, 2024

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Suffolk is once again using the sounds of country music to fight against Alzheimer’s.

Following last year’s cancellation due to weather, the 2nd annual Greenway Airfield Music Festival returns Saturday, May 18, at 1591 Cherry Grove Rd., from noon until 7 p.m.

Along with performances from Nashville Country Artist Leah Seawright, five-time Country Award Winner David Lee Jones, Country Music Hall of Fame Drummer Mark Herndon of Alabama as well as local bands Cooltones, Gator Head and the Luke Willette Band, attendees can look forward to food trucks, games, raffles and vendors, Supporting the Alzheimer’s Association The Longest Day Campaign, donations will be $25 with children 12 and under free of charge. Lounge chairs are welcome, but coolers are not allowed. 

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Greenway Airfield Owners Charles “CA” Nuckles and Robert “Bennie” Speight took time to discuss the music festival. Nuckles says that attendees can expect a book signing and a meet-and-greet with Herndon along with the festivities.

“Plenty of food vendors, plenty of merchandise vendors, VIP seating. We also have ABC licensed beer and wine and we have things for the kids to do, if you want to bring your children.”

Speight says the event is very personal to him as his mother passed away last September after a 10-year battle with Alzheimer’s.

“We’ve got so many friends, in just the neighborhood that we live, it’s just popping up. People all of a sudden have that terrible, dreadful disease,” Speight said. “It hits our families, it hits our friends, it hits band members. …We got five bands playing and they’re donating their time for this cause. So hopefully, research will come around and help us.”

Noting that he’s known Speight’s family for years, Nuckles says he observed Speight’s mother suffering from the disease.

“I’d see her out on the porch and she just slowly faded away through the last three years. So it kind of bothered me that I never really got to really talk with her,” Nuckles said. 

From Nuckles’ life work as a musician, he says Speight approached him about putting together a concert as a fundraiser for battling the disease, with many band members taking part due to being affected by Alzheimer’s. 

“It’s basically, you either know someone or somebody in your family has had it. We actually have a young lady that’s coming in. She’s going to do an acoustic song that she wrote about Alzehimer’s because her grandmother passed from Alzheimer’s, and I actually heard the song, it’s a very good song. The Alzheimer’s Association has heard the song.”

“And they were very much in approval of her coming,” Speight followed.

During the interview, Speight said they raised $10,700 before the event started. Nuckles says the fundraiser is looking to grow every year.

“We have other artists within the music community, from here to Nashville all the way out to west, that have expressed interest in future shows. We’ve actually had somebody who wanted to come on and I got calls about this year… It’s just going to get bigger every year.”

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