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Family Launches Blackstock Music Festival to Benefit Communities in Poverty

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This post is written by Emily Fields, Development Coordinator, Nourish International

Blackstock Music Festival
May 30-31st, 2014 in Blackstock, SC
40 Bands - Four stages - Great Cause

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When owner of Blackstock Productions, Joshua Leonhardt, asked his sister and Nourish International Executive Director, Kelly Phoenix, about being a Charity Partner for the first Annual Blackstock Music Festival, the event became not only a convergence of the family passions but an opportunity to raise significant funds for Nourish International's growth in the fight to impact global poverty by engaging social entrepreneurs. Funds from the festival will help Nourish International grow to 100 campuses and hit $1M in funds invested in community partners by 2017.

This year's Blackstock Music Festival will feature 40 bands, four stages, and attract thousands of concert goers to this two day camping event in the heart of the Carolinas. Tickets are available at http://www.blackstockmusicfestival.com/ and on etix for $115 in advance and $125 day of. Sponsors of the festival include Jack Daniels, Sweetwater Brewing Company, Verizon Wireless and Ben Arnold Distribution Company.

Joshua Leonhardt, owner of Blackstock Productions, LLC, started the festival on his family farm in 2012. The festival, what began as simply a group of friends hiring local bands to play at fireside chats on the family farm, today, has grown to include four stages, 40 local bands, and 2,000 people at this year's main event. Joshua, a music aficionado, and Kelly, a social activist, grew up in a family commodity business that included travels to countries ranging from Belize to Turkey. Both saw global poverty firsthand and see the festival as a way to give back to the local economy, elevate music and arts, and generate substantial investment for communities in need.

Nourish International's mission is to engage students and empower communities to make a lasting impact on extreme poverty through social enterprise. Since 2003, Nourish International has grown to become a student movement on 60 campuses and 700 students serving communities in 28 countries with game-changing investments to fight global poverty. To date the organization has invested nearly half a million dollars to implemented over 100 poverty reduction projects in countries ranging from India to Peru.

This year's festival will be held on over 1,000 acres of Leonhardt family-owned farmland in Blackstock, South Carolina on May 30-31. For two days, this picturesque countryside will play home to dozens of local food vendors, great musical talent, live artists and thousands of guests! Festival-goers will enjoy food trucks serving everything from hummus and smoothies to pizza and burritos. And in between sets from such bands as Galactic, Papadosio, The Revivalists and PineTop Lightning, guests will have the opportunity to take part in a disc golf course and try their hand in the Cornfield at the Corn Hole Tournament. The festival will also play host to a number of craft brewers and a variety of artisan crafts and goods.

As if that weren't enough, Blackstock Music Festival is more than simply about the music experience, it is about giving back as well. Blackstock Music Festival proceeds will benefit Nourish International by helping to open 15 new chapters of the organization in 2014. The festival will stimulate the local economy in Fairfield County, South Carolina where unemployment was nearly 10 percent last year, over 20 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line, and 1 out of every 5 people never get the opportunity to graduate high school. The Leonhardt family hopes the festival will have a local footprint for the Blackstock community in years to come.

It's clear, The Blackstock Music Festival is much more than your typical summer music festival! It is the collaborative effort of North and South Carolina's musical talent, local live artists, craft vendors, a global charity cause and a family inspired to support one another.

To see the official Blackstock Music Festival lineup, purchase tickets, and learn more visit: www.blackstockmusicfestival.com

Interested in learning more about Nourish International's work? Visit: www.nourish.org

All economic stats on the county of Fairfield, South Carolina taken from U.S. Census Bureau data from 2012.