May 23--Sector One Entertainment knows the importance of family -- the group behind the all-ages MAYDAY Music Festival is just like one.
Its sixth annual showcase of local disc jockeys, emcees and musicians honors local families, specifically those with members in the armed forces. The festival starts Saturday at noon and continues through Sunday at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.
The brains behind the festival are a group of local DJs, emcees and performers who coalesced about nine years ago to support each other's work said Rich Perry, who goes by the stage name Diesis-I. Working on the annual event brings the tight-knit crew together each year. Their goal is to help members of the armed forces while promoting different genres of music during the only festival of its kind in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
"If we don't do it, no one else is going to," Perry said.
Since its inception, the electronic music showcase has grown to include much more than just free music. Now, it's a two-day celebration bringing in all types of performers, including for the first time actors from the Gaslight Theatre Co., the hoop stylings of Riot Hooping & Aerial Dance, and open mic sets.
"You're going to be hard-pressed to find something you don't like," said organizer Leesa Colon. "There's nothing like it around. You can't name a free music festival like this in the area."
Several new musical acts will hit the five festival stages, which are divided by categories including live music, hip-hop, drum and bass, house and electronic, and dubstep. One of the event's main goals is to expose audiences to electronic music outside the bar scene, said organizer Alicia Conley.
The event is always family-friendly -- organizers ask all performers to keep their material clean, Colon said. The festival's children's area contains plenty of age-appropriate entertainment, including pony rides, a bounce house, kids yoga, a scavenger hunt and a hula hoop contest.
"We expanded the kids area this year," Conley said.
The group loves seeing kids get into the music. Making families and children smile is part of the reason they continue to hold the event each year, Perry said.
For the troops
Another is the soldiers. The festival benefits the family readiness group fund of the 109th Field Artillery, Pennsylvania National Guard. Soldiers also help the event each year, providing tents and shuttling equipment, the organizers said.
Conley knows the sacrifices soldiers and families make firsthand -- her husband, Staff Sgt. James (Randy) Conley, belongs to the 109th Field Artillery and is deployed with them to Kuwait. Some of the funds raised at the festival will go toward giving her husband and his compatriots a homecoming.
The festival is just one of several events Sector One puts together. Others include a regular DJ and emcee showcase called Forward, and Bassgasm, an electronic dance music series geared toward fans age 18 and older. Visit "Sector One Ent." on Facebook to find out more.
What: MAYDAY Music Festival
When: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.
Where: Kirby Park, Market Street, Wilkes-Barre
Cost: Free admission; donations benefit local armed forces members
Online: maydaymusicfest.com, facebook.com/maydaymusicfest, facebook.com/maydaymusicfestival, @maydaymusicfest
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