Do Good Fest has been one of the most successful music festival ventures in the state of Vermont. For eight years, the festival has been rocking Central Vermont with popular music for a good cause. We found out a little more from Beth Rusnock, President of the National Life Group Foundation, about this fabulous upcoming event.
How did Do Good Fest get started? What was the intention going into it, and why did National Life choose the cause that it focuses on?
Do Good Fest hosted its first event in 2014 to welcome our neighbors to our back lawn by holding a concert that would do good for others. National Life’s corporate values are Do Good. Be Good. Make Good. To hold an event that supported cancer patients through the National Life Cancer Treatment Center at Central Vermont Medical Center made sense. All proceeds go to Branches of Hope, the cancer patient fund at CVMC. Before we got involved, the fund was supported with bake sales. To date, we’ve raised more than a quarter million dollars for the fund that supports patients with everything from gas cards to a rocking chair for a young mother with terminal breast cancer.
Has it met the expectations over the years, and how has the festival grown and evolved?
Do Good Fest has far exceeded our expectations! In year one, we had about 1,500 people join us. In 2019, we estimated 10,000 people were here. We love that we can highlight the gorgeous location we have as well as all Montpelier has to offer. We know that many nonprofits who showcase in the Nonprofit Village build their donor base by raising awareness here. Food trucks sell out. People dance. Children play. It’s a joy to see everyone come together.
How do you choose the line-up each year?
This year we’re working with Star 92.9. They’ve been a great partner in helping us land national and local musicians: X Ambassadors, American Authors, Forest Blakk, and Moxie. We’ll also present two acts from local high schools who won our Beats for Good competition. The Laker Ladies are a trio from Colchester High School and Kingdom All Stars hail from the Northeast Kingdom. They’re amazing young talents we’re proud to feature on our stage.
How many people do you expect to attend? What is the targeted audience?
At last count, we have 30 VIP tickets left and about 1,500 general admission tickets available. We have a feeling after looking at the forecast tickets might get snapped up and once again, we’ll welcome 10,000 folks to the hill. If anyone wants to get tickets before we sell out, go to DoGoodFest.com. If you can’t make it, you’re welcome to watch the live-streamed show on the same site.
What makes Do Good Fest unique amongst its 'peers'?
While there are many benefit concerts, none that I know of also include a Nonprofit Village. Not only do we support Branches of Hope, but we also welcome dozens of other nonprofits to talk about their causes. We also have Beats for Good, almost 20 local food vendors, a kids zone, beer tent and a stellar fireworks show. I have never experienced anything like it.
What is the future goal for the festival? Do you expect it to continue to grow or evolve?
Right now we’re focused on bringing people back together to celebrate good music and each other this Saturday! We know as we track online donations that our fundraising for Branches of Hope is higher than it's ever been. We’ll reveal that amount during the show.