Everything You Need to Know About Melody of Hope’s Drive-in Music Festival
Subscribe on iTunes! Subscribe on Google Play Podcast RSS Feed Charlie Wendell fills us in on what’s new with Melody of Hope, like transitioning from a Gala to a Music Festival. On November 6th, 2020, headliner Abby Anderson leads a roster full of talent for Melody of Hope’s Encore! Drive-in Music Festival. The Festival starts at 5pm at Verona Villa. Attendees will have designated tailgate space with 6-foot buffers for some built-in social distancing. Car passes are available at www.melodyofhope.org/musicfest?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss. In addition to the music, you’ll also find food trucks, a silent auction PLUS a broadcast option too, for those of you who aren’t able to get tickets. Let the music bring hope, Frisco! For additional fun details about the event, read: A New Melodic Twist of Hope on an Old Classic in Frisco SHOW NOTES: [1:10] What’s changing with Melody of Hope [4:30] Artists coming to Frisco [7:00] How will the music festival look in 2020? [8:46] Event details [11:24] Additional ways MOH is helping in the community [14:08] Overview on updates for the nonprofit LINKS & RESOURCES: Melody of Hope on Lifestyle Frisco | Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Encore! Drive-in Music Festival Website Connect with Lifestyle Frisco on: YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter LinkedIn Transcript Machine-generated. Scott: Welcome to The Frisco Podcast. I’m your host, Scott Ellis. And this episode, we’re chatting again with Charlie Wendell from Melody of Hope. Charlie, how are you? Charlie: Hey, Scott. I’m doing great. Thank you all so much for having me Scott: Glad to have you back on the podcast. And we’re going to talk about some of the changes to what’s happening with melody of hope and your events, and what’s been happening around town, but, where do we find you right now? Are you working from home or are you able to get out and about a little? Charlie: Yeah, it’s kind of, it’s both, you know, but even before COVID I worked out of my office and I joke that that’s how melody of hope is able to provide so much more funding towards our events and nonprofits is because I don’t have an office rent and I work from home. So it’s been great. Um, I’ve definitely been out and about, a lot of our networking groups have still been meeting and I’ve been meeting a lot of people on zoom as well. So it’s been kind of a hybrid for us over here. Scott: Very good. We’re glad to hear you’re staying safe and doing well. Um, so let’s talk a little bit about what’s coming up this year because the last time you and I actually had a chance to speak was almost a year ago at your big gala last year, hard to believe it’s already been that long. Um, but you guys are making some changes to how you operate and how you do things. So why don’t you kind of walk us through what’s going on? Charlie: Yeah, it’s crazy how fast a year goes by? I mean, I remember we recorded the podcast probably a year ago today, and then the gala was about 10 months, 11 months ago. So, um, yeah, we’ve been making a lot of changes. Our, our board decided even before all the COVID stuff happened that we wanted to kind of shift away from a gala. The gala’s been a really sweet spot for us and just a great event, but we, um, you know, it costs us about 40, 30 to 40 grand to put the gala on and, you know, all that’s on the cheaper side, we just thought maybe that would be that money could be used towards maybe hiring a big headliner or a big talent to come in and maybe do a music festival. And so we were already thinking about this idea of transitioning from a gala to a music festival as our big, you know, our signature event and just to help, you know, I think that would help bring tourism and, you know, bring people from all over the North Texas area to come into our city and to help that. So, yeah, we’ve, we’ve been transitioning to a music festival before COVID. Scott: Okay. Well, certainly for anybody that’s ever put on an event, like the gala that you guys were doing knows how much work and how expensive those can be. So I commend you guys for that decision. Um, it’s funny because I remember several years ago, uh, when Wendi and I were here in Frisco, there weren’t really any events happening or very few, you know, where you would kind of get dressed up and go out and go to, you know, a nice event like that. And now it seems like there’s a lot of them happening, especially around this time of year. So it’s interesting to hear how you guys are differentiating yourselves. Charlie: Yeah. It was also interesting because, you know, they’re, you know, the 90 10 rule, there’s like 10% of people that do 90% or go to 90% of events. And so we felt like we were maybe pulling from the same, you know, group of people and, you know, that’s expensive if you’re one of those, you know, 10% that goes to everything that gets kind of expensive to go to galas and, you know, while it’s helping good causes, we just thought maybe we’ll just bring the community together and have cheaper tickets, but still have a really big event. And so that’s kinda what, another reason we decided to switch to the festival. Scott: Yeah. And then the music festivals, a neat idea too, because it’s not really something we have in Frisco. I mean, there’ve been a couple of big, you know, um, Edge Fest and things that have come through town, nothing that’s local and, and focused on what you guys do. Charlie: Yeah. We had noticed that too. We did a little bit of market research. But also we were wanting to do kind of an upscale component to our festivals. And so, you know, like, you know, Lifestyle Frisco, y’all have been such a great sponsor. We want to do something for our sponsors and our VIP is at our festivals. And so we’ll, we’ll still be having kind of an upscale VIP lounge this year. Obviously we’ll look a little different because of COVID, but there’s definitely a, um, a more upscale, kind of niche in our festival for our VIPs and sponsors. So we’re excited about that too. Scott: Can you tell us at all, and if you want to keep it secret for now, that’s fine. But can you tell us about any of the artists or like what we would have to look forward to at this year’s festival? Charlie: Oh my gosh. Yes, absolutely. We have. So when we first decided to put this on, we just reached out to all of our artists. We’ve got about, um, we’ve really built our, our artists database during COVID. We kind of just blindly reached out to a bunch of artists in North Texas and were like, Hey, we have a lot of virtual shows. And, um, we’ve probably added about 40 artists to our roster during COVID. So that’s been another silver lining to COVID. Um, but this year we’ve got, um, 19 artists that will be performing at the festival. Um, and we just hired and booked our headliner for the event. And her name is Abby Anderson. Um, she is out of Nashville, but it’s kind of a funny story. She she’s opened up for gosh, like Billy Currington, Brett Eldridge, you know, actually Rob Thomas of matchbox 20, which is one of my favorite bands. Charlie: Oh my gosh, I love matchbox 20. They’re so great. But yeah, she’s, she’s kind of up and coming, but she’s done. Um, she was on the Buffalo Bills. Um, Oh, she did a song for the Buffalo Bill’s team last year. And so she’s up and coming, but she performed at our very first gala in 2014. Um, and she was like 14 years old and it’s just been really cool to kind of see her, you know, grow into her own and, um, really take the music industry by storm last year. She’s been doing great. Charlie: Yeah. So she’ll be headlining. Um, we’re going to be blasting a lot of her videos in the next week or so, so you’ll be on the lookout, but we’ve also got Ron Bultongez is, you know, he’s kind of the hometown hero of Plano and Frisco area. He was on American idol and top 24 finalist. Um, and he’s just great, you know, he’s played for us a couple of times and then Grace Tyler, who also, she, you know, she’s a Frisco kind of Frisco country queen. Um, so we’ve got a bunch of artists I can, you know, naming all 19 I can, but those are kind of like the three big hitters of our event. Scott: Well, good. I’m glad to hear that. And it’s funny. I was about to ask you about Grace Tyler. We’ve had her on the podcast before and done some interviews with her in the past, and she’s a fantastic young talent and, you know, she graduated high school, I think a couple of years ago. And, um, I think she went to Nashville. Charlie: Yeah. She’s in Nashville. Yeah. Yeah. Scott: But glad she’ll be back for this event. So in the context of, of COVID and all that, that, that entails, um, how was the event going to look this year? How will it kind of fall together so that people are being safe and everything’s, you know, people are comfortable coming out. Charlie: Sure, sure. Yeah. So the biggest thing, um, that we are doing to make sure people are being COVID compliant is we have a, it’s a drive in music festival. And so we have got, um, Verona Villa. So I don’t know how many details you guys know. I guess our listeners don’t know too many details, but, um, yeah, we were doing at Verona Villa to share in the parking lot and everyone has a designated tailgate space that is, you know, has six foot buffers. And so you’ll have, you know, a parking spot and then a tailgate space. And then, so that’s your six foot buffer. And so that’s how we’re kind of making sure everyone is staying safe. Um, and then if you have a truck, you know, bring your truck and tailgate, like physically tailgate in the back of it, um, in your little buffer, six foot buffer space. Um, so that’ll be fun. We’ve seen it done before. Um, one of our volunteers, she works for a, um, a kind of independent radio station and they did this and it was a really big success. And so we saw it and we were like, man, we really need to do that. We have to do something for our community. You know, it’s just trying to help boost the morale of the community and just bring people together in a safe way. And, um, that’s really the heart of what we’re trying to do is, you know, music is such a great unifier and, you know, I think politics aside it’ll be right after the election. So I think people will be happy and sad. And so I think this is a great opportunity to just bring people together and, enjoy some good music and kind of forget about what’s going on at home. Scott: Yeah. I think first of all, what is the date? So people know, Charlie: Yes, it is November the sixth. Okay. So right after the election and I’m sure that people, yes, everybody’s going to welcome a distraction of any kind that is, we may not necessarily know the outcome yet, but I’m sure people will be ready to move on and think about other things. So that’s great timing. Yes. Yes. And also I’m just touching on the COVID compliancy. We’ve also got contactless entry, so, you know, you buy a ticket and then you just show your ticket to the, um, at the checking table. But when you drive in and so it’s contactless, we’ve got sanitation stations, we’ll be providing masks for everyone. Um, and so that’s a few other ways that we’re keeping it covid safe. Scott: Wonderful. Well, we’re looking forward to it. I think it sounds like a great event. And how long, I mean, you’ve got 19 artists, how long has he been going to be? Charlie: Yeah, so we just kind of redid the schedule. Um, so Ashley Miller and Corey Holmes are, they’re both board members, they’re emceeing the event. Um, we just kind of redid the schedule with them. We’re going to be doing, um, kind of groups of artists. So it’s called a song swap. And so the first six, 12 to 16 artists will be, coming on in groups of four and they will be kind of song swapping and kind of just, you know, bantering off of each other into the first four actual B groups. And then the last four will be, you know, the big hitters that the artists that have actual bands with them, a lot of these artists are just solo artists plug and play. So we’re doing groups of artists first, and then the last four artists are solo artists that are, you know, with their band or whatever. Scott: Okay. And I want to make sure that we, uh, plugged this a couple of times, but if people want to get tickets, where do they go? Charlie: Yeah. So we’ve built a website actually during COVID, Google has been amazing because I just Google, like, I think that’s part of being a business owner. You just Google a lot of things. Um, but we, we just Googled how to create a festival website and what a lot of them looked like. So we made one for the event, it’s just melody of hope.org/music Fest. And so that has all the information. It has all the COVID compliancy information, the artists that we’ll have a couple of food trucks there, um, you know, cause people have to eat, even though, you know, we can still make it COVID, COVID compliant and safe, but we’ll have food trucks there we’ll have a silent auction that’s live. Um, we’re also, We’ll also be broadcasting the event too. So we just hired a company to come in and broadcast the entire thing. So if you can’t attend, then you can still tune in. It’s a free live stream. Um, you can still tune in and watch that as well. Scott: All right. Very good. So we have, um, the festival coming up on November 6th and, uh, obviously you guys have kind of changed the format and, and what you’re doing as melody of hope. Um, but we talked a little before we kicked off the call about, you know, businesses and helping local businesses as well. And the unique position you guys are in to help nonprofits and artists, but potentially also businesses. Can you talk a little, a little bit about what you guys have going on there? Charlie: Yeah, absolutely. We have been in kind of a unique space because like I had mentioned, you know, music is so easily transferred to the virtual world and we’ve had a couple of our sponsors and donors that own businesses reach out and, you know, because they’re not going out and networking as much or even doing events. They, a lot of them reached out to us asking if we could possibly provide an artist just for their Facebook page to go live on. And so, you know, you have an artist on a page for an hour that really helps to boost engagement. Um, you know, and that will help the business can get on intermittently and, you know, talk about what they do, but we’ve had a lot of people ask about, you know, how can we boost our brand and boost our Facebook viewers with an artist. And so we’ve been able to provide that Laurie, Laurie McCaffron, she’s kind of the first one that kind of jumped on the idea and we’ve had like Stryker, roofing, um, Josh Smith insurance agent. So a few people that have used utilize those artists so far. And so if you’re a business out there, we would love to help, um, provide an artist if you need some engagement for your live or just someone to, you know, boost your brand. Scott: Yeah. And that’s a really, that’s an interesting idea. I’ve worked with some businesses that have, um, they do kind of all hands, you know, all company meetings and right now they’re doing them virtually and they’ll actually have an artist come on at some point during the all hands meeting, usually toward the beginning just to kind of make it fun and kick things off and it’s been hugely successful for them and, and employees love it. Um, so I think there’s a lot of different ways to, uh, to make that work. Charlie: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve done that as well. Tabitha’s T is one of the nonprofits that we partner with actually Ebony was, um, on Wendi. I interviewed Ebony yesterday, so, um, that’s just came out. She came to my mind first, but yeah, we’ve provided, you know, we’ve still been able to provide artists for nonprofit events too, that have switched the virtual world. And so, you know, it’s been, it’s been a great opportunity for us and just trying to help, still employ the artists and the nonprofits are still fundraising. I mean, they’re still helping, there’s still needs in the community that, you know, have to be met even though COVID, you know, has kind of taken over, but we’ve been helping that way too. Scott: Uh, how has the melody of hope doing overall? Charlie: And doing great? Like I had mentioned, um, we added, we added three new board members, um, which has been incredible for us. We added, um, Ebony King, Earnest Morgan and Jeff Bankston to our board this year. And it’s just been a time of growth for us. Um, you know, we can do that all virtually, you know, send in the applications and, you know, have board meetings virtually. So we’ve been kind of growing, um, growing in that way as well. And, you know, it’s just, it’s just a really great opportunity for us, you know, we exist to, to share the gospel and we do that from the stage. And so having a virtual, a strong virtual component from COVID has really helped us to just share the love of Jesus. Um, you know, we try to do that any chance we get and, and that’s been great for us to be able to do that on a larger scale. You know, we have more virtual viewers then in person events. And so, you know, that’s really why we exist and that’s, um, you know, why we’re doing what we do Scott: Well, thank you for doing what you do. We appreciate it immensely. Um, and I know that a lot of people in Frisco, we’re going to be looking forward to, to coming out to the festival, to hearing some live music, which is something a lot of us haven’t had a chance to do in a while, uh, to forgetting about politics for hours, at least by all means, uh, you know, I think what you guys are doing is fantastic and we’re grateful for it. So, uh, once again, let’s kind of give everybody the rundown on the festival, they location to get tickets, all that good stuff. Charlie: Yeah, absolutely. Um, so the festival is on November the sixth then, so that’s four weeks from today. It’s on a Friday. Um, the time it starts at five o’clock and it will last till probably about 10 30. Um, and you can get, uh, your car passes on our website at www.melodyofhope.org/music?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss Fest. And then we are doing a free live stream. And so if you can’t attend, um, if you don’t feel good about, you know, socially distancing or COVID, and you don’t want to attend, then you can still watch the show on it’ll be streaming on YouTube and Facebook and portions of it on Instagram. Scott: Awesome. And can people donate to melody of hope through your website? Charlie: Oh yeah, of course. Yeah. That’s just melody of hope.org and there’s a donate button on the, on our page. Scott: Okay. Good to know. So if people, uh, maybe if they don’t want to come or they’d rather stay home and watch the live stream, but they still want to help out, they still want to contribute. That’s a great way to do that. Um, so definitely head out to melody of hope.org, and look for that donate button. Charlie, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Really appreciate it and everything you guys are doing. Charlie: Yeah. Thank you so much, Scott. And I just have to say thank you all so much. Lifestyle Frisco is the generous stage sponsor this year, and that has been such a great help. And so I cannot say thank you enough to y’all and the partnership we really, um, have enjoyed that. And we’re so humbled and grateful for you guys. Scott: Well, thank you very much. We appreciate that. And we appreciate each and every one of you for tuning in to the Frisco podcast, uh, you know, again, go out to melody of hope.org. Look forward to the music festival on November 6th, and we look forward to hopefully before too much longer being able to get out and see you around town. Thank you very much.