Concert Preview: Songs4Soldiers October 5 and 6 at Bolm-Schuhkraft Park
It’s been 6 years since Dustin Row organized the first Songs4Soldiers event. What started as a small show called Tiny’s Fest, at a local bar in Columbia, Illinois, has grown into a 2-day festival featuring national recording acts.
“2013 is when I decided that this has grown big enough to do something for combat veterans, which is something I always wanted to do,” Row said.
Last year Songs4Soldiers featured Bret Michaels, lead singer of Poison on the first night of the show. Row estimated around 8,000 people attended the show over the 2 days it took place.
The festival has grown a little bit bigger each year and Row says that’s due to responsible planning by his team of volunteers.
“It’s just kind of happened itself,” he said. “So many sponsors wanted to get involved, which gives me more money to get bigger acts and more money to help the charity.”
Row says the biggest challenge to putting on an event like this is selling tickets.
“You got to get out there and sell tickets or else it doesn’t work,” he said. “You have to try to knock your marketing out of the park. Once your venue is filled up, all your problems go away.”
Row and every single volunteer donate all their time for free. Not one penny is made off the event. 100% of all money raised goes to help combat veterans, something that Row, a veteran himself, is very proud of.
The relationship he has struck up with Entertainment St. Louis has enabled him to attract national acts like Michaels and this year’s acts Diamond Rio and Granger Smith.
“Outside of this, we’re all just good friends,” he said. “They did my talent booking for me. They are able to reach out to national agents.”
With last year being the first year of the festival having national acts, Row said he was flattered with something that Bret Michaels told him.
“I’ll never forget what Bret told me after a show,” Row said. “He told me this was one of the most pro shows he’s ever played. I told my crew that because I was really proud to hear that.”
Granger Smith and Diamond Rio will play the first day of the festival on October 5, while SuperJam, Pettycash Junction, Kim Massie, Steve Ewing, The Dave Glover Band, Dazed n’ Confused STL and Whiskey Dixon will play Saturday, October 6. The event will take place at Bolm-Schuhkraft Park in Columbia, Illinois.
Tickets and more information is available at songs4soldiersstl.org.