Azalea Fest uses $70,000 from city and county to bring in ‘The Voice’ winners, Girl Named Tom
WILMINGTON — The North Carolina Azalea Festival is a month away from its full return since 2019, with the aftermath of pandemic stunting operations over the past two years. As part of his 75th birthday celebration, he announced that a fourth musical act will kick off the five-day event. The first trio to win ‘The Voice’, Girl Named Tom, will take over the Riverfront Park stage after the Queen’s coronation in 2022.
The opening night concert was lit up last month when Wilmington City Council and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners approved giving the festival $35,000 each to help offset some of the performers’ costs. . Of the 11 officials who voted, council members Luke Waddell and Neil Anderson were the only two to oppose the use of taxpayers’ money. (Chair Julia Olson-Boseman was absent from the commissioners’ vote.)
READ MORE: Azalea Festival asks city and county for $70,000 for ‘nationally headlining musical act’
READ MORE: Azalea Festival granted $70,000 request for fourth act headliner
The money was awarded at the request of festival president John E. Russ and executive director Alison Baringer, who sent a letter to government entities in January. They noted that the money would help lower ticket prices for the community as a whole and feature a family event.
Girl Named Tom tickets start at $5 for lawn seating with $10 reserved seating. Prices are at least four times lower than other concerts at the festival, such as Cypress Hill, REO Speedwagon and Brantley Gilbert whose tickets range from $39 to $159.
The Azalea Festival’s letter to the city and county also noted that the infusion of funds would help provide free tickets: “We plan to donate approximately 400 tickets to our valued healthcare workers as a thank you for their work in pandemic case.
Port City Daily has contacted Baringer to find out how they will distribute tickets to healthcare workers and for the costs associated with Girl Named Tom. The article will be updated if there is a response.
Girl Named Tom consists of Caleb, Joshua and Bekah Liechty, siblings from Pettisville, Ohio, who are acclaimed for their vocal harmonies. They were the first band to earn a four-chair turn for their rendition of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Helplessly Hopeing” at the Season 21 launch last fall. Each “Voice” judge – Blake Shelton, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande – competed to work with the twenty-somethings, but the group chose Clarkson, a country pop megastar also known to woo audiences on television during from “American Idol” in 2002. .
The sibling trio – who independently released their debut album ‘Hits from the Road’ just months before their debut on ‘The Voice’ – performed several covers throughout last season, including Radiohead‘s ‘Creep’ and “River” by Joni Mitchell. Currently, the group performs covers and originals while touring theaters, casinos and festivals across the country.
They will take the stage in the Live Oak Bank pavilion following the coronation of Queen Azalea – former Miss America 2019, Nia Imani Franklin. A composer, actress, and singer, Franklin earned a degree in music composition and theory from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and attended the NC School of the Arts for her master’s degree in music composition. She completed a fellowship at Lincoln Center and was composer-in-residence at the Napa Valley Festival in 2021, according to a statement from the festival.
Franklin has an EP, “Extended”, with rhythm and blues music and his orchestral piece, “Chrysalis Extended”. She also founded the non-profit organization Compose Her, which empowers and supports women in music.
She will be crowned at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, with celebrities and queens on hand, including NFL Pittsburgh Steeler and Wilmington native Alex Highsmith, Olympic swimmer Claire Curzan and Miss North Carolina Carli Batson, also of Wilmington, among others. Coast 97.3’s “Bigg B” will host the event and the East Coast Community Choir of Wilmington will also perform.
Tickets for the Coronation Concert featuring Girl Named Tom go on sale Saturday, March 13 at 10 a.m. vaccination within 14 days of the last Covid-19 vaccine. Children under 12 will be required to take a Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event and provide proof of a negative result before entering Riverfront Park.
The Azalea Festival attracts over 300,000 people a year and has an economic impact of $50,000,000, according to a study conducted by UNCW over a decade ago. The 2022 event will take place April 6-11; his full program is available here.
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