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June Jam at Brenau honors its late founder, benefits charities
Annual event keeps memory of Mitch Farmer alive, friends and family say
Music lovers waited through a patch of rough weather Saturday to see live music at the Brenau University Amphitheatre during the annual Mitch Farmer June Jam. This year's beneficiaries include Court Appointed Special Advocates and Friends of Recovery. The performers included Brat Pak, Allen Nivens, The Last Minute Band and The Bootleg Cowboys.

Music lovers gathered Saturday at the Mitch Farmer June Jam Concert in the Brenau University Amphitheater to honor the memory of its founder and support the charity that was so important to him.

Farmer began the annual June Jam five years ago as a way to help raise money for local charities.

"He was wanting to give some of his time and effort back to the community so he came up with the idea. It just started off with a few bands and local charities, and it has just mushroomed into this," Bret Clark said.

Farmer died in December 2009. His wife and friends wanted to keep his memory alive by continuing the concert and renaming it in his honor.

"Last year we all got together and decided we wanted to keep it going," Farmer's wife, Kerry Farmer said. "We didn't realize how much he did until he wasn't a part of it. We were like ‘oh my gosh, he handled so many things.'"

She says setting up the event last year was stressful. "We're not a whole lot better this year, but we knew what to expect."

Last year, 400 people showed up to offer their support and enjoy the music. It was the most successful fundraiser since the concert began in 2007, earning $10,000 for Court-Appointed Special Advocates, an agency that helps children in the court system.

"That was a good year. I think we raised more money than we had raised before and this year we hope to raise more," Kerry Farmer said.

All of the money raised benefits local charities. The funds come from ticket sales, table sales and donations. This year funds went to help CASA and Friends of Recovery.

June Jam featured five bands, food, a silent auction and a kids' zone with face painting, crazy hair and Moonwalks.

"We have stuff for the kid, so it's a family event. We just have fun doing it," said Matthew Meeks, committee coordinator.

Steve and Wyndie Burke of Flowery Branch sat on the lawn, listening to the music and enjoying the sunshine.

"It sounded like something fun," Steve Burke said. "Come out listen to a couple of bands, have a little picnic and have some fun."

Wyndie said that they came to support Kerry and Mitch Farmer's efforts "and his view of life and what he does for the community."

While Mitch Farmer is no longer here, he continues to have an impact on his community through the dedication of his friends and family.

"We miss him, that's for sure. This helps us keep him alive," Meeks said.