Though festival founder Tim Cretsinger was diagnosed with HPV oral cancer in December, Groove Crew volunteer Peggy Green said there was no way this year’s show was going to be canceled. Green said the task ahead was heavy, but the Groove Crew took it on without even batting an eyelash.
“With Tim's diagnosis,” she said. “The magnitude and reality of our now seven day community event was overwhelming.”
Still, she said the “magnitude” of the work did little to dissuade those who volunteer for the festival from voting to move forward this year. In fact, she said the experience mad volunteers push to work harder to prove to Cretsinger that they won’t let him, or the community, down.
Some of the biggest challenges in taking on some of Cretsinger’s workload have been with fund raising, Green said. She said that many of the crew members are used to a more “behind the scenes” approach to Groovefest, so face-to-face sponsorship requests were difficult for some volunteers.
“The problem with fundraising like that is having to talk to all those people,” said volunteer Chuck Triplett. “I tried going around asking for money about three years ago with Brian (Hoover) for a whole day, and we didn’t get a penny.
“Tim’s just really good at it,” he added.
Triplett said he would rather donate time with one of his many bands, than have to go from business to business trying to convince them to support a community event, because he just isn’t comfortable talking to people.
He said there will be a fundraiser at Dicky’s Barbeque Pit, 1190 S. Sage Dr., suite D and E, Cedar City, Saturday from 1- 8 p.m.
Green said the Blues & BBQ: Back to our Groovefest Roots Fundraiser at Dickey’s is a way to take a step back and acknowledge where the seven-day festival began – as a parking lot concert along side of the Blue Cat, featuring local bands and a small dream called Blues & BBQ in 2001.
“We wanted to pay homage to the start,” Green said. “The roots and solid foundation Tim and Lisa built for us and future generations.”
Cretsinger’s wife and business partner Lisa Cretsinger said it is hard for her to consider her husband not being the one-man-organizing machine he becomes every year around this time, but that she is grateful for the stability found in the crew.
“I can't yet imagine Tim not able to give 100 percent as he usually does – solving each and every last minute problem – talking to everyone who demands his attention,” she said. “But I do have faith in the Groove Crew and that they will help ease his worry by working extra hard and giving a little more this year.”
Lisa Cretsinger said she never tries to speak on behalf of her husband, but since he has been feeling so weak after radiation she wanted to attempt to convey a message on his behalf. She said both of them are incredibly relieved that the generous and dedicated Groove Crew has caught the vision of Groovefest and come through when it was most needed.
“They have all stepped up to cover for Tim – who is still in charge and making all decisions concerning Groovefest,” she said. “Tim is our leader, and also the motivator and reason that the Groove Crew now more than ever wants the 2014 Groovefest Music and Art Festival to the biggest, most exciting, fun-filled music and art event to come to Cedar City.”
According to a post on the HOPE and Repair – A Benefit for Tim Cretsinger facebook page, this year’s Groovefest schedule has been approved and everything is set to move forward.
“This year's Groovefest will mean so much more with Tim done with treatment and having conquered throat cancer,” it reported.
Saturday’s Blues & BBQ will feature four of Southern Utah’s most sought after musical acts. Dick Earl’s Electric Witness is playing from 1-2:30 p.m., Swift and Sons is playing from 2:45-4 p.m., Jake Ryan Sheppard will play a solo set after Sons, and Loose Connection will close the event from 6-8 p.m.
Green said that there may be a second performance by Dick Earl’s Electric Witness for the evening crowd after Sheppard’s set is over, and possibly an open jam, but she is not sure about that yet.
River Tiffany said he and his wife Kimberly Tiffany opened Dickey’s a year ago and are excited to be able to provide a site to host an event that will give back to the community in such a major way. He said that he and his wife are big fans of Groovefest and that he is grateful for the musical culture the Cretsinger’s have worked so hard to culminate in Cedar City.
“I think Groovefest has just given so much to Cedar City,” he said. “As far as getting people in, bringing a lot of culture in the arts into town – in a different sense, you know, besides theater.”
Loose Connection frontman John Barton said the highlight of his band's career was playing the Groovefest American Music Festival in 2013. He said Loose Connection has had a lot of fun gigs over the years, but playing Groovefest made the top of the list.
“Playing Groovefest was definitely one of the best things that’s ever happened,” he said. “They treated us great, we got to play up on the stage and people loved it.”
River Tiffany said that Saturday’s fundraiser is a bit like a big ol’ block party, "with stuff for the kids to do and everything."
He said the show will be in the parking lot, so many of the businesses in the Providence area have gotten in on the action and are donating a portion of their profits for the day to help support the festival.
“People have asked if they can bring tents and chairs and that’s fine,” he said. “Because the show is going to be outside, we have a patio outside of our restaurant so, that’s where it will be.”
More information is available on facebook at the event site Blues & BBQ: Back to our Groovefest Roots FUNDRAISER.