HMF crowd scene

It takes a village ….We all know this is a phrase that is overworked and overused but after the third amazingly successful Haverford Music Festival, it just seems to work.

The Music Festival isn’t a success by accident.  The process starts with an OK from the Civic Council. Then a committee of about 25 people begin organizing “right after the end of last year’s festival,” laughs Manny DelPizzo, a three-year committee member who works to choose and schedule the musical talent.

“A success like Saturday’s fest doesn’t just happen,” adds Tom Kelly, the chairman of the HMF committee.  “It isn’t just luck. We are a very good committee.  All of us are committed and dedicated to this project.”

And it is fun.  Local businesses give  “over the top” support to the music festival and its potential for a positive impact on the township. They are definitely a part of the team.  From Giant,  XFinity and IRadioPhilly to the small shops on Eagle and Darby roads and Brookline Boulevard who donated a $25 gift for the raffle, to the folks who man their booths during a long day of dishing out ice cream, making pizza and fries.  For many local businesses the music festival means talking shop for more than nine hours – we take our hats off to you.

“There were so many happy people at the festival,” says Lissa Hilsee, a committee member. “It simply would not happen without every one of our very generous sponsors and dedicated vendors. We had over 80 businesses as partners this year. Thank you all for making it an uplifting day for so many!”

Of course, we’d be nothing without the dedicated musicians, most of whom share their talents for free – we applaud you!  The willingness of such amazing singers, songwriters, duets, trios and bands, from seasoned to somewhat green, to share their talent makes the music fest what it is.  These  performers can stop us in our tracks to listen and bring us to their feet dancing together.  They are impressive.

The police and township officials – we are sure you braced yourselves for a million possible problems – thanks for helping us ensure a day without incident and for helping us clean up when it is all over.   This is no small undertaking and you have supported us from the beginning. Even the president of the board of commissioners, Mario Oliva, was out there volunteering – high five!  Thanks to the school district for sharing their field and facilities and thanks to Grace Chapel for providing the fourth stage this year at The Rock.

More than 100 volunteers donate their time doing everything from setting up stages and breaking them down to selling wristbands and raffle tickets, to making sure the kids on the giant slide play safely, to cleaning up when it it’s all over.  You are unheralded during the day, but you deserve a  lot more than a thank you – at least every volunteer does get a T-shirt!

“All the green room volunteers went above and beyond,” says organizer Laura McClatchy, talking about the folks who help get the acts up on stage and off again.  She especially wants to thank volunteer Joe Romasco who was at the ER in the morning and still showed up in the afternoon. “He was a huge help,” she says.

‘The volunteers never cease to amaze me,” Peggy Murr says. Peggy recruits and organizes the volunteers and inspires them.  She  works right along side the 100 men and women who show up at 8 a.m. and stay until the end of the night.  They define the word dedication.

Last, but certainly not least, thanks to the community members … without you it would all be for naught.  Not only did you come out in mind-boggling numbers – estimates are between 15,000 and 18,000 – most of you gladly purchased a $2 wristband for every member of your family  and long strips of raffle tickets to win the big cash prize.  One woman reportedly told the raffle ticket seller, “It would be good if I won this because I would donate it all back. This is just great.”

Joy Bennett, Coopertown teacher and township resident has been at the festival all three years. “I just love how the whole Haverford community comes together to celebrate, she says. “I love that many of the performers are local and the festival gives us a chance to see and hear them.”  She also loves that the festival attracts everyone– both young and old.  “We all get to enjoy music together.”

There is no better, more positive reason to have the Haverford Music Festival than that!