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First Annual Hummingbird Festival a success

August 26, 2014

CHARLESTOWN – The First Annual Hummingbird Music Festival brought acoustic acts from across the state to a small field tucked away in Shannock on Saturday, all for the benefit of RICAN, a local non-profit that assists those in need with food, heat, clothing and home repairs.
Local singer and songwriter Esmeree Skye, with the help of her family, friends, fellow musicians and even her landlord, put together the festival in its entirety.

Esmeree walked The Narragansett Times through the process of dreaming up, organizing and holding a music festival on Monday morning after the dust had settled from the hours of stress-inducing labor and arranging.

“It was very spur-of the-moment,” she said. “I woke up one day and had my coffee and went into the living room and told my mom I was gonna host a music festival. All of a sudden I wanted to do that. I don’t do that kind of thing a lot.”

Jeff Marlowe, who owns the property where the Hummingbird Festival was held and runs and owns Bite Me Bait Co., was the next person who Esmeree went to after her mother.

“I started organizing my thoughts around artists, set-up, costs, food, timing – then I made a Facebook Page and talked to my landlord about it. He was right on board. He was great,” said Esmeree. “He put a lot into this. He funded a lot of it, even. He supported me on this endeavor in a multitude of ways - above and beyond what was ever required or asked for.”

After Marlowe, the Charlestown Town Council.

“We went to the town council next so he (Marlowe) wouldn’t get in trouble,” said Esmeree. “It was really difficult. It was really hard to get their attention. We went in a couple of kinds and they were kind of dismissive. They didn’t realize that I was really serious about it.”

Eventually, Esmeree had a positive experience with the town clerk and worked out a meeting where the festival was approved unanimously by the council.

“We weren’t even out of our chairs and they said ‘we approve’,” said Esmeree on Monday. “That was a huge relief. It was such short notice that I really wasn’t sure it would happen.”

Being an outdoor festival, everything had to set-up the morning of – including police detail, restrooms, stage set-up and securing a PA system.

“I woke up at 6 on Saturday and ran around like a crazy person setting everything up,” said Esmeree. “Everyone worked really hard for it both for them and for a good cause. I honestly thought it would be so much harder to train people to do these jobs but everything went smoothly And all my friends - even people who weren't on the volunteer list - helped clean up and break down and set up and calm me down and all kinds of helpful help. I really love them all.”

Esmeree plans on holding the second annual Hummingbird Festival next year, with a few changes.

“I’m gonna give it a month and not even think about it, because it was so stressful,” she said. “Then we’re going to start planning again. We’ll have more time to promote, so we’ll probably have a bigger attendance and better headliners. It’s hard because there’s the Folk Fest, the Jazz Fest, the Washington County Fair, the Seafood Fest and Rhythm and Roots. Those are all like one weekend after another, so it’s hard, but next year we’re going to try to plan it so it’s not on the same weekend as anything important.”

After a stressful but exciting morning, a barefoot Esmeree Skye performed some original songs and a few covers of her favorite artists on the stage at her own music festival in her hometown. The next morning, she woke up and had another cup of coffee and took some time to thank everyone involved.

“All in all, yesterday was an amazing success,” wrote Esmeree on her Facebook Page on Sunday. “There are a lot of people to thank, but firstly I want to thank my mother, Sara, my sister and brother, Jayna and Ethan, and Jeff Marlowe. I had so many people come up to me throughout the day who were completely blown away by everybody's talent. Right now I'm going to have my coffee and enjoy relaxing finally and stay grateful because even when I have nothing else, I have endless support from my friends and family and I love all of you so much. So thank you and stay tuned for next year.”

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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