Emmylou Harris has a reputation for having one of the biggest hearts in country music. The Country Music Hall of Fame member is excited to be the lightning rod behind a new event, Woofstock, that she hopes will be the first of many to support homeless animals around Nashville.
"I have a dog rescue organization called Bonaparte's Retreat, and this is a fundraiser for that," she says of the Aug. 18 event, taking place at The Woods at Fontanel. "We have partnered with Metro Animal Control, and we are great friends with Nashville Humane, so there will be other rescues there. There will be dogs there that are available for adoption, and we are telling people to bring their own dogs, because we will have a dog beach with umbrellas, and lots of fun for the dogs."
In an exclusive interview for Billboard, Harris (whose current album is titled "Hard Bargain") said the day will offer something for everyone. "We will also have lots of music. I'm going to perform along with Buddy Miller, Shawn Camp, Mike Ferris, Ella May Bowen, and the Whites."
There'll also be food and drink available. The Farm at Natchez Trace -- a high end doggie day care -- will be offering pet pedicures.
"We just wanted it to be a day where people could come out and have fun, bring their dogs, listen to some music, have some good food. It would be wonderful if we got a few dog adoptions, but mainly, we want to raise awareness of shelter dogs in the area -- not just at Bonaparte's -- but all the rescues in the area that are available for adoption in our community. We really hope it will be an annual event."
While this event will help raise awareness for dog rescue, Harris hopes to include cats in a similar program in the future.
"Bonaparte's Retreat is so small, and it's located in my back yard, so it will more than likely stay larger dogs from Metro Animal Control that are running out of time. But, I am on the board of the Crossroads Campus, which was an idea of Charles Strobel - who started the Room At The Inn. We want to have a much larger rescue that takes care of dogs and cats. We also wanted to give job opportunities for people who have graduated from Charlie's program that are homeless, and need an opportunity to get back into society while still dealing with the stigma of knowing they were homeless. The animals don't care. They have a lot to give to each other. We're also partnering with the Children's Services, hoping to give an opportunity to young adults who age out of the foster system that don't have a support system that need a job opportunity. We want to offer some kind of residence, as well as the opportunity to work in animal rescue, and perhaps go on to work as a vet tech., but centered around animal grooming and rescue."
Rescue is the number one priority of the program. Harris says the numbers are staggering.
"There are as many as 1,000 animals per month that Metro Animal Control puts down. By law, they can only keep them so long. If nobody shows up to rescue a happy and healthy soul that can enrich someone's life. It's heartbreaking to think about, but they have to be put down to make way for the hundreds of animals that come in because people don't spay and neuter their pets."
More info: WoofstockatFontanel.com