Couple’s love of music, giving back combine to create a unique fundraiser

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nye and Kevin Hartwick have dreamed of having a backyard big enough to host a music festival for years.

Their wish came true last November when the couple moved into an old farmhouse off of Lawing Drive in China Grove.

After their second daughter was born in May, they decided to make it a reality.

The pair didn’t want to profit off of their hobby, so they decided to seek out a charity to help.

“We just wanted to have a good time and invite a lot of people to give to a good cause,” Nye said. “The idea came from our love of music and just a love of giving back to the community.”

Nye said she’s volunteered at soup kitchens and homeless shelters throughout the country, so she knows just how important they are to communities.

“I looked locally to see what we had and I found Rowan Helping Ministries,” she said. “We went up and toured the facility … it’s just an incredible place and they’re expanding, which is a great thing because they’re very cramped in there now.”

Six bands will perform during the first China Groove Music Festival, which kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday and runs until 10 p.m. at the Hartwicks’ house, 1130 Lawing Drive. Their group, the China Groove House Band, will play midway through the event.

“Everyone’s doing it for charity, they’re all donating their time,” Kevin said.

Admission is $1 plus two canned goods or $3, but people are welcome to donate more, Nye said.

“We’re asking people to bring clothing donations as well,” Nye said. “This is the time of year when people start switching over their closets to fall, so sweaters and jackets are welcome.

“Rowan Helping Ministries helps families who have small children, so the clothing donations can be from infant to adults.”

The couple isn’t sure whether to expect 200 or 2,000 people to show up, so they don’t have a specific fundraising goal in mind.

“They’re going to drop off their trailer and we’re going to try to fill it up for them,” Nye said. “If we got that trailer filled I’d be ecstatic. If we got it half-filled I’d be impressed because it’s really big.”

The event will feature a variety of vendors selling snacks like cotton candy as well as items such as soap and jewelry.

The Pig and Cow, a Concord-based food truck, will be on site selling food.

“They get all of their produce and meats from local farmers, which is one of the reasons that I’m really excited that they’re coming,” Nye said. “They really support community-based growers and they’re food is phenomenal.”

The pair said people are welcome to bring chairs, blankets and coolers to the family friendly event, but they ask them to leave pets at home.

“We want people to come hang out, listen to good music and raise some awareness for Rowan Helping Ministries,” Nye said. “The music’s there for entertainment and the vendors are there to draw crowds, but this is all about raising clothing and food donations.”

David Fish, director of Catawba College’s music business program, will be accompanying a student to the festival to help set up the sound system for the day.

“I sent him an email and he was very excited to point me to a student who could be the sound engineer,” Kevin said. “We’ve really gotten a lot of support.”

The couple hopes to make the China Groove Music Festival an annual event.

“Every year we can pick a different charity to sponsor, and raise donations or money for different causes in and around Rowan County,” Nye said.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.