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June Jam a musical tribute to a giving soul

Benefit concert continues in memory of its founder, Mitch Farmer

POSTED: June 9, 2011 12:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

The Last Minute Band's Jerry Armour, right, and Mike Gaddy perform during last year's Mitch Farmer June Jam at Brenau University.

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After Mitch Farmer's death in 2009, his family, friends and co-workers wanted to keep his spirit of benevolence alive by continuing his June Jam concert project.

With a big but ailing heart, Farmer worked to organize the inaugural event in 2007, and again in 2008. The event was organized as a fundraiser to help local charities.

Farmer was unable to get June Jam off the ground in 2009 due to declining health that stemmed from a lifelong heart condition. He died later that year.

It would have been easy for those who knew Farmer to not continue with what he had started. But those close to him rallied strong, and in 2010 June Jam returned the stage.

"I wanted to keep his name, his theme and his legacy alive. I just want to keep his vision for June Jam alive. And to keep supporting the charities through the event," said Matthew Meeks, Farmer's longtime friend and business partner.

"We wanted to keep his spirit and vision alive, and helping people always meant so much to him, so we decided to have it."

Long-time friend Chad Black said he knew immediately that he was on board to help keep the charity event going.

"When he passed away, we wanted to keep going with what he started, to keep giving back to the community. We really want this to continue in his memory," Black said.

Local musician Peggie Hoskins and her group, The Vertigo Band, have been performing at June Jam since 2007, and will be back this year. The sound menu also includes performances by Brat Pak, Allen Nivens, The Last Minute Band and The Bootleg Cowboys.

In addition to ticket sale proceeds, organizers hope to raise money through a silent auction and a raffle that includes a $500 gas card. Food will be on sale along with a kid's zone.

This year's beneficiaries include Court Appointed Special Advocates and Friends of Recovery.

"We all loved Mitch. He always wanted to help out and he was always there if you needed him," CASA advocacy coordinator Lisa McCarthy said.

McCarthy said that Farmer was even there to assist in the moving process when the group relocated some time back.

"We're all really looking forward to the event. I think every year it has grown, and I think it will be bigger and better this year," McCarthy said.

"Standing up on the stage and seeing all these people, knowing that all these people knew or knew of Mitch, and knowing that they have all been touched by Mitch in some way, that's pretty moving," Black said.



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