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Second Darden Fest Poster 2018


This time in a new location!

Looking to embrace the winter and escape the house? The Appalachian Forest Heritage Area (AFHA), in cooperation with ArtsBank, Inc., hosts its second annual benefit concert on Saturday, January 27, 2018. All proceeds will go to ArtsBank, a nonprofit artist residency program that supports youth arts education in local schools. Doors open at 6:30 pm and music starts at 7:00 pm. Due to last year’s strong turnout, DardenFest 2018 will be held in a larger venue: the Randolph County Community Arts Center at 2 Park Street in Elkins. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Seating is limited and admission is on a first-come, first-served basis.

DardenFest 2018 will feature the old-time and traditional country music of Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller; Back Patio and the Melted Candles, a five-piece folky group of Appalachian singer-songwriters; Eduardo Canelón and Ben Quarrels’s medley of music with Latin, jazz and Brazilian influences; Deep Blue Sand’s Sandeep Hunjan, a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and recording artist with diverse musical influences; and Chaga Tea Project's John Merrill, whose music reflects experience as a woodsman from a large, musically-talented family. These musicians, along with the venue, have generously donated their time, ensuring that all proceeds will go directly to ArtsBank, Inc.

The first-ever DardenFest took place after a group of AFHA AmeriCorps decided to organize the benefit concert in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. “The first DardenFest was on very cold, snowy night in January of 2017,” Danielle Ellis, one of the organizers, said, “but in spite of the winter weather, the Darden Mill was packed with music lovers and concert proceeds exceeded $700.” This year, AFHA and ArtsBank will continue the tradition of bringing the community together for a good cause, a night out, and a chance to contribute to the local arts scene.

ArtsBank, Inc. expands and enriches youth arts in our public schools by cultivating the next generation of young artists. During the 2016-2017 scholastic year, ArtsBank provided teaching artists to over 2,000 students in all 11 Randolph County elementary schools and Tygart Valley Middle School’s 8th grade.
AFHA enhances rural community development in the highlands of West Virginia by promoting heritage tourism and strengthening local industry, arts, and culture.

Give back and give yourself a night out. We’ll see you there!

For more information about this event, contact Rebecca Conway at

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