This weekend, First Ward Charities Inc. will debut their Play it Forward Music Series to raise money for charitable causes in the Binghamton area. The series will kick off with Harvest Fest, running from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday in Otsiningo Park.
Harvest Fest will feature a lineup of American folk-rock bands along with beer, wine and food vendors. According to Andy Kipp, president of First Ward Charities Inc., the group chose to create a concert series to showcase local music and draw attendees in with crowd favorites.
“There is not a lot of big music events in town, so we figured it would be good to showcase a lot of local bands,” Kipp said. “We decided to do bands like Driftwood because they are a big draw around here and they do not play in town too often … So, I figured we should get them in town for a nice outdoor show.”
Although the Play it Forward series was just created, Kipp said First Ward Charities Inc. hopes to continue the event into 2020 as it continues with its seasonal themes, possibly adding a winter and spring concert.
According to Kipp, the organization has supported the Binghamton area for years, and it has advocated for causes that may not be at the forefront of local residents’ minds.
“First Ward Charities [Inc.] is just to help the community, and we’ve raised money for Airport Inn, fire victims [and] Harpur’s Dance Scholarship Fund,” Kipp said. “We redid a bathroom for a lady who has MS and Lyme disease; she could not get into her tub, so we redid her bathroom for her so she had a walk-in shower and tub, just things like that. A lot of people come out of the woodwork right when it happens, but eventually everyone is onto the next big thing.”
Since this is the first concert in the Play it Forward series, First Ward Charities Inc. is expecting a more localized turnout, but they are hoping the series will continue to grow as they add more concerts to the lineup.
While First Ward Charities Inc. may attract bands and concertgoers from outside Binghamton for its event, the organization will always keep the funds raised within the local community. This goal was established and prioritized by Kipp, who said he has a special bond with Binghamton.
“I care about it because of what it has done for me,” he said. “If it was not for the community, I would not be here. I love this community and it is finally starting to turn around, and I just like to help it all.”
Although VIP Tier 1 tickets are sold out, VIP Tier 2 tickets are still available online for $30 and include five drink tickets. A donation of $10 is encouraged to support charitable causes. First Ward Charities Inc. also accepts general donation through its Facebook page.