First music festival sets stage for annual event

By James Diehl

For 12 hours last Saturday, the historic Ross Mansion played host to the inaugural Seaford Summer Music Festival, an eclectic event that included a little something for everyone. There were games for the kids, activities for the adults, plenty of "grown-up beverages" of which to partake and lots and lots of good music. The brainchild of Seaford residents Art Perdue and Tommy Morris, the festival was designed to give local bands a forum to display their talents. It became much more than that with bands from throughout the region participating. "This festival is smaller than many we've been too but it's in a really nice setting and it's been done very professionally," said Andy Hollaway, a member of the Salisbury "electronic jam band" Continuum. "You never really know what you're going to get when you go to these festivals, but this has been really great. We would definitely come back again next year if we were asked." Hundreds of music lovers visited the event in its first year, a warm response that Morris hopes will allow for more festivals in the coming years. "I think people were surprised. I don't think they expected such a quality program with quality musicians," Morris said. "There's no doubt that this needs to be an annual event. I think people realize now that we can bring good music to the area." Throughout the grounds on Saturday, young people could be seen congregating, middle aged folks carrying on discussions and parents frolicking with their children. It seemed an event for just about everyone. "We've had a good time, we've really enjoyed the music," said Ocean Pines resident Meghan Gorrera, who came to the event with some friends and her 5-year-old daughter. "The bands have all been really good; it's a nice day and there's lots of space for the kids to run around. The whole day has been very nice." Vernon and Lynda Holland made the trip from Dagsboro in Vernon's 1968 candy apple red Chevrolet Camaro. As part of a small car show on the grounds, Vernon had a chance to show off his pride and joy as well as spend a fun-filled day with his wife listening to music.

"This was a fun day," Vernon Holland said. "They had a good variety of music. I think that's what made it so good. We definitely hope to come again." On the western end of the mansion grounds, Seaford artist Terry Palmer constructed a live graffiti wall to allow festival goers a chance to "express themselves." "I've been an artist all my life and I wanted to do a special rendition of the Ross Mansion," Palmer said. "People like having something to write on. I think it's coming together really nice." Featuring the Ross Mansion and portraying the festival, Morris is undecided on how to best utilize the work of art now that the festival is over. "I'm not sure what we're going to do with that. We may make and sell prints, but it's not something we're going to put money into in order to make more money," Morris said. "Terry has been through a lot, but he's truly a beautiful, beautiful person. I think the wall was a good touch. The whole festival just has incredible potential." Leroy Sayler from Federalsburg, Md., said he came to the festival for one reason - just to hear some good music. "I heard about this when I was at Riverfest and I wanted to come over and check it out," Sayler said. "They've had a very good variety of music, which is what I expected. I certainly have not been disappointed." In addition to Continuum, other local bands at the festival included Lower Case Blues from Rehoboth Beach, Minos Conway from Lewes, Chowderfoot from Seaford and Lefty Groove from Newark. SOJA and Third Eye from Washington, D.C., also performed at the event. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Delaware Charitable Music Association and the Trinity Foundation. After expenses, Morris figures there won't be a whole lot left over when all is said and done. Still, he hopes a small contribution to the two charities can be made. "We had wanted to network the bands, hoping they could help each other out and I think we started that this year," Morris said. "(As for the charities), the Delaware Charitable Music Association is a new organization that is definitely going to help musicians in the area and the Trinity Foundation is a Seaford organization that has well-established lines to local charities. We hope we can still give each of them something." To read more about the first-ever Seaford Summer Music Festival, visit

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