By Kayti Wingfield
What better way is there to celebrate 15 years of protecting the beautiful and unique Appalachian region than bringing people together with Appalachian-inspired music and revelry? That’s what we did on July 21 in Charlottesville, Va., when hundreds of members from across the region joined us as we commemorated 15 great years working with you to protect Central and Southern Appalachia.
The Artists for Appalachia evening would not have been possible without the amazing artists that joined us on stage. The evening included rousing performances by Kentuckians Michael Johnathon and Daniel Martin Moore, country fusion band 2/3 Goat, Charlottesville’s own The Honey Dewdrops and Trent Wagler of the Steel Wheels, as well as a profoundly inspiring headline appearance by Grammy award-winning artist and West Virginia native Kathy Mattea.
Keynote speaker Jeff Goodell, a contributing editor of Rolling Stone magazine and the author of “Big Coal,” shared his own unlikely journey of becoming a standard-bearer for environmental health and encouraged the crowd to stand up for a just and sustainable transition in Appalachia — a place where we are all connected.
The artists closed the night by joining together on stage to sing a very appropriate song, “Jubliee.” Just as songwriter Jean Ritchie wrote, “Swing and turn/ Jubilee/ Live and learn/ Jubilee,” we must celebrate Appalachia and we must continue to learn how to protect it better. We promise that, with your help, Appalachian Voices will continue to do so for another 15 years.
To see pictures, watch video and listen to clips from the evening, visit appvoices.org/artistsforappalachia.