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Elks Aidmore looking for bands to fill music festival line-up

CONYERS -- Though the inaugural Elks Aidmore Music Festival is still two months away, Elks Aidmore Development Director Dawn Butler is determined to create a buzz about the event.

To that end, Starbucks in Conyers hosted the first "60 Days to Elks Aidmore Music Festival" artist showcase this past Friday and will continue to present the concerts free of charge to the public at 7:30 p.m. each Friday until April 20 at the coffee shop, located at 1515 Ga. Highway 138.

The artist showcase features jazz, blues or soul bands that are auditioning for spots in the lineup of performers set to play at the Elks Aidmore Music Festival in April.

Butler said she'll also use the concert time to educate the public about Elks Aidmore and the foster care system.

"We want to do a promotion leading up to the festival, to stay front and center, but at the same time we want to supply free entertainment and talk about foster care," Butler said.

Elks Aidmore provides residential services on its 141-acre campus in Conyers for about 20 at-risk teenagers and young adults, both boys and girls. The organization also serves about 80 youths in non-residential programs.

All children assisted by Elks Aidmore are in the foster care system. Butler said she wants to define for the public all of the services necessary to help foster children, in order to make the community understand why it's important to fund the program.

"If they don't understand foster care, they won't fund it," Butler said.

Foster care is more than simply finding a place for a child to stay temporarily, said Butler. Housing maintenance, health and wellness, education, counseling, recreation -- these are just a few of the areas that require financial resources.

Elks Aidmore strives to create as much normalcy for the displaced children as possible, said Butler.

"Our goal is that these children become healthy and productive adults," she said.

Butler said the Friday night showcase concerts will feature at least two bands per evening and that she is accepting applications for bands to enter the showcases. The primary requirements are that the band play live (no tracks) and that the music be jazz, blues or soul.

Cost to enter the showcase is $5 and applicants may get more information by visiting www.elksaidmoremusicfestival.com.

Those bands chosen to play at the music festival will be opening up for a host of established musicians, including jazz violinist Ken Ford, who is the headliner for the Elks Aidmore concert. Other music festival performers include blues vocalists Claudette King (youngest daughter of B.B. King) and Big Robert T, Tampa Blue, and Will Culbreath featuring Jazzmatic.

The Elks Aidmore Music Festival will take place on April 28, starting at 2 p.m., at the Georgia International Horse Park in Conyers. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 the day of the event.

Butler said the music festival can accommodate 4,000 people.

"We're pushing hard to sell out," Butler said.

To purchase tickets, visit www.elksaidmoremusicfestival.com, stop by the Starbucks during a Friday night showcase concert, or call Elks Aidmore, located at 2394 Morrison Road in Conyers, at 770-483-3535.