Winds of Change Newsletter, September 2008 See sidebar for table of contents
Mountain Keepers Music Festival Celebrates Appalachia
The second annual Mountain Keepers Music Festival drew more than 300 folks to Kayford Mountain July 5 and 6 for music and speeches celebrating Appalachian culture.
Speakers and organizations highlighted the need for environmental justice in southern West Virginia: We need good-paying, green jobs and an end to the ravages of mountaintop removal.
The free two-day event featured local and regional musicians playing a variety of bluegrass, gospel, country and old-time music. Childrens games, potluck meals, camping and a silent auction rounded out the event.
Kayford Mountain champion and OVEC board member Larry Gibson says the festival shows support for "human rights, health and water rights, and basically everything that we have."
Larrys extended family folks who work actively to end mountaintop removal and people who were making their first visit to the mountain, joined together to create a warm and enjoyable weekend.
Festival organizers Jen Osha, Sam McCreery and Danny Chiotos were assisted by dozens of volunteers, and we extend a huge thank you to the musical artists who helped us celebrate our home and heritage and gave us some much-needed fun in the midst of the struggle to end mountaintop removal:
Elizabeth and Sandy LaPrelle;
The event was co-sponsored by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Student Environmental Action Coalition and Coal River Mountain Watch.
Ode to the Mountains
Help! My mountains are dying,
here in the West Virginia hills.
Can you hear their moans and sighing,
as each branch of nature is killed?
Oh the trees are quietly weeping,
as the streams are quickly filled.
In our wells the poison is seeping,
Even as the sun sets in its golden gild.
The fate of the nation has come to depend,
on the corporations and their dividends.
Logging, stripping, drilling - mines;
everybodys worried about that bottom line.
Still she stands in all her glory,
that majestic mountain oh so high.
And Mother Nature is imploring,
For anyone - to help her dying mountains.
By Debra May-Starr (Mingo County),