By Cal Colgan | JColgan@flagler.edu
The second annual Harvest of Hope Foundation Music and Arts Festival will be held from March 12 until March 14 night at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds.
Phil and Ed Kellerman started the Harvest of Hope Foundation in 1997, on an inheritance from their grandmother. The Foundation provides financial aid to farm workers needing transportation, money for rent and utilities, medical services, and other needs.
“Our mission is to fill in the gaps of service to this hardworking yet needy group of (people),” said Phil Kellerman, the president.
The Kellermans got the idea to organize a benefit concert for migrant farm workers from their friend, musician Mike Bernos. Bernos is a former journalist who worked with migrant farm workers in Texas and set up a day care center for migrant children.
The head of the Mike Bernos Band, which plays a mixture of acoustic rock, reggae and blues, Bernos said that Phil Kellerman liked the fact that some of Bernos’s songs were about the struggles of migrants.
“He said, ‘Look, do you have any other music? Because we could play it for benefits,’” Bernos said.
The Kellermans also collaborated closely with Ryan Murphy of the Gainseville independent music label, No Idea Records. Murphy said that he met the Kellermans through working with migrant farm workers himself.
“I got involved with a grad school program here in Florida, and that grad school program had me working with migrant farm worker children in Alachua County,” Murphy said. Murphy said the program that he worked for was “under the umbrella” of Harvest of Hope.
The Kellermans said that this year, they are trying to showcase bands that know about the Foundation and support the cause of helping migrant farm workers.
Bernos, whose band is playing Sunday night, said he has a positive attitude towards the benefit concert this weekend. “I’m looking forward to a great event, in which we can continue to (raise awareness for) the plight of migrant farm workers, but do it in a way that people are enjoying themselves,” he said.