Local musicians donate Freedom Festival CD sales to charity

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    By Jared Johnson

    Those who missed this year”s Freedom Festival concerts will get a second chance. Of the 35 music artists who participated at the Music Fest July 2-4 at the Provo County Courthouse, 20 have donated songs for a compilation CD sponsored by the Timpanogos Singer Songwriter Alliance.

    “Strictly Barefoot” features 20 tracks by TSSA artists, including several who have already made a regional name for themselves. The coalition includes the high profiles of Ryan Shupe, Sunfall Festival, Julia Davis Allen, and Shane Jackman, each of whom took a shift on the main stage this year. Ronda Knudsen, one of the founders of the TSSA, did most of the scheduling and found the entire festival very fulfilling.

    “It made the Freedom Festival a worthwhile effort for all the performers to donate their time and energy,” Knudsen said.

    The co-founder of the alliance said that the three days of concerts from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. accomplished an objective of the TSSA.

    “Part of our goal is to bring the music to the masses,” Knudsen said, “and to show the Valley that there is great music out there. The Freedom Festival brought the musicians to the audience and the audience to the musicians. It was fulfilling to see people hang out in 107-degree weather.”

    Thousands of local patrons turned out for the shows. Residents including Provo citizen Stephanie Johnson found the outdoor shows a worthwhile activity.

    “It was exciting because everyone was interested in what was being played,” Johnson said.

    The “Barefoot” album is not a commercialized collection of hits; the disc costs $5, and all proceeds benefit Giant Steps, a foundation for children with autism. Artists were glad to donate material for the album.

    “These kids need help, and it”s the least we can do for them,” said Ryan Merrill of the music group Colors. “The show was one of my favorites all summer.”

    “Doing stuff like this is what it”s all about, whether it”s donating

    songs or even shows when it”s such a pure cause,” said Russ Dixon, also of Colors.

    This is the second year the TSSA has produced a CD to capture Freedom Festival concerts. Last year”s compilation, “Bottlerockets and Lemonade,” benefited the Utah Food and Care Coalition and included 19 songs. All 500 copies sold out during last year”s festival.

    Copies of “Strictly Barefoot” are still available by contacting Ronda Knudsen through the TSSA Web site, www.timpanogos.org.

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