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Tornado relief fest to replace Raleigh Wide Open

Posted July 3, 2011

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— A community group is stepping into the void left by the cancellation of the popular Raleigh Wide Open festival and will throw an event to raise money for victims of the April tornadoes and honor first responders.

The ComeUnityNow music and arts festival will take place in the City Plaza and along Fayetteville Street on July 30.

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It will raise money for the Wake Interfaith Disaster Team and The Green Chair Project, which are helping tornado victims recover.

"The reality is that much work remains to be done," Mayor Charles Meeker said in a statement released by ComeUnityNow. "As a community, we need to finish the job to aid in long-term tornado disaster recovery efforts for the hundreds of families, individuals and businesses who were deeply affected by the April 16, 2011, tornadoes."

Meeker cited recent reports from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that Wake County has about $200,000 in needed repairs that aren't covered by insurance. The deadline to apply for FEMA aid is Tuesday.

Organizers said they also want to use the festival to honor first responders and other volunteers who helped during the crisis.

Tickets to the music festival will cost $10, while the arts festival along Fayetteville Street and in City Plaza will be free.

Auditions for bands, solo acts, dancers, entertainers and street performers will be held at Seaboard Station, along Semart Drive, from 5-10 p.m. on July 11.

The ComeUnityNow festival will take place during the same time period and in the same location that the Raleigh Wide Open festival has been held in recent years.

City officials announced in March that Raleigh Wide Open wouldn't be held this year, citing costs and a similar event to celebrate the NHL All Star Game in January.

The city held a concert, Rise Up Raleigh, in the downtown amphitheater on June 3 to raise money for tornado relief.


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  • superman Jul 5, 2011

    Raleigh Wide Open was certainly named correctly. Just go downtown early the morning after. Beer bottles, beer cans, paper trash everywhere. Those "little parties" need to be held at a beer joint. I dont think the city should be sponsoring parties that serve and distribute alcohol. Wow and to think that some people worry about a little smoke.

  • golowral Jul 4, 2011

    So, we can spend millions on a money-losing civic center in an effort to draw in outsiders, but we can't afford a little party for our own citizens? Huh!