Combining great music with an excellent cause, the Life is Good Music Festival  is set to take place this weekend, September 24-25 at Prowse Farms in Canton, Mass. Headliners include The Avett Brothers, Ray Lamontagne, Brandi Carlile, Raphael Saadiq, Ingrid Michaelson, the Levon Helm Band, and more.
The two-day music and fundraising event is hosted by the Boston-based active clothing company, Life is Good, partnered with producers Superfly Events.
The funds raised at the event, aimed at $1 million, will benefit the Life is Good Playmakers, the action arm of the Life is Good kids Foundation. The organization raises money for programs that bring healing through music, activities and play for children facing life-threatening challenges. Prior to the festival 1,000 people have already signed up as fundraisers and have raised $350,000.
The festival's "Chief Executive Optimist," Bert Jacobs, says the message of the festival is to create a community of fundraisers to help spread the power of optimism for kids.
"To us, kids are the ultimate optimists," Jacobs said. "Part of what this is about is maintaining that child-like optimism." Life is Good worked with Project Joy after hurricane Katrina and helped children in the Mississippi delta. The organization eventually evolved into the Life is Good Playmakers, and the music festival is the program's biggest fundraiser of the year.
"We wanted to make this 100% for charity, whether you buy a beer, buy a ticket, or sign up to be a fundraiser; whatever it is, it's going to help kids," Jacobs said. In addition to the music, families can enjoy circus acts, an array of games and activities, diverse local food, and hands-on art projects.
"We felt as though the kids only added to it. Outside the United States, events tend to include families with young kids, but here we tend to separate it. The question was, 'can you have baby strollers and tattoos in the same area,' and the answer is yes."
According to the event's coordinators, music is a universal factor that brings people together in huge numbers.
"Music is the best vehicle for building community and bringing people together," Jacobs said. "Musicians were more open than other businesses to try and do something good together. We had a lot of excitement coming from the musicians, and it's a great hook for bringing people together who might not otherwise get together. The real common thread is that [music] celebrates life."