HANNIBAL — Local rock band NOWAKE has a direct connection to firefighting, and their performance in the 10th Epic Music Showcase set for Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Hannibal P.O.P.S. Club is tied directly to a worthy cause in that lifesaving field.
Since the first Epic Music Showcase a decade ago, local charities such as Pinkie Pals and burn victims supported by Hannibal Jaycees have benefitted from the event. When the festival moved to the Hannibal P.O.P.S. Club about four years ago, NOWAKE vocalist Mark Kempker said the focus shifted to supporting the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
“Being that I am a firefighter that has been to two fallen firefighters’ funerals in the state of Missouri — and knew both of those individuals in a way — it’s very near and dear to our hearts, because it could be us one day that don’t go home,” he said, stressing the organization covers volunteers, paid firefighters and every other type of firefighter nationally.
An average of 100 firefighters loses their lives each year in the line of duty, aside from Sept. 11, when 343 individuals were lost. Kempker said the foundation provides instant support like mortgage payments, utility bills, rent and food to families affected by the loss of a loved one.
“They step in when you need them, when you can’t think straight,” he said.
“Our mission is to honor and remember America’s fallen fire heroes and to provide resources to assist their families in rebuilding their lives and work within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries,” the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s website states.
Kempker said donations will be accepted during the event, and people who can’t attend the Epic Music Showcase can also contact the Hannibal Fire Department to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s cause.
“Being as three of us are firefighters in the band, it was the right thing to do,” he said.
NOWAKE’s lineup includes Kempker on vocals, Sean McHargue on guitars, Austin Birkhead on guitars, Ryan Gilmore on bass and Mark VanWinkle on percussion.
Fans who attend the show can expect a variety of rockin’ selections from the band’s three albums — along with a possible surprise. Kempker said the band is “polishing up” the first song from their upcoming fourth album, and the as-yet unnamed song could make its public debut during the event.
“A lot of our songs are impacted and they are inspired by some of the things we have experienced in our own lives,” Kempker said, noting how band members’ various experiences have influenced many of the song’s compositions and how they are performed. “Hopefully, someone can take away a little bit of that when they listen to some of our songs.”
Kempker is excited to announce that the 10th anniversary of the Epic Music Showcase will offer live music and activities for all ages, rain or shine. The gates at the Hannibal P.O.P.S. Club will open earlier this year at noon, with a bounce house for youth, a cornhole tournament, a car show presented by Midwest Menace Car Club, and a wide variety of live entertainment all day.
Acoustic performers Liz Bentley, Seth Wade and Dan Kerns will perform. Greylight Divide, will take the stage later in the day. Discrepancies, NOWAKE and headliner September Mourning round out a day filled with high-energy live music.
Kempker expressed his gratitude to countless community sponsors for making the 10th anniversary of the Epic Music Showcase possible. Karen Munch, Farmers Insurance Agent, helped sponsor the stage. Hannibal Regional Healthcare System has been a major sponsor and 105.9 The Grizz has helped spread the word.
Tickets are $15 each in advance through Eventbrite and will be available for $20 cash at the gate. The event is open to all ages, and fans 12 years of age and under receive free admission. No ATMs will be on site, so all visitors are asked to bring cash along.
The cornhole tournament registration fee is $40. Food, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, will also be on hand. Kempker said half of the food proceeds will be donated by the P.O.P.S. Club for a local Christmas charity. He encouraged everyone to bring family and friends out for a unique experience.
“That’s the joy in it, at the end of the day, everyone had a good time — and more importantly — doing it for a good cause,” Kempker said. “These are firefighters, and what it comes to, what it really means, is a firefighter has given his life for someone else in the line of duty. That’s what the Fallen Firefighters Foundation is all about.”
The Hannibal P.O.P.S. Club is located about two miles south of Hannibal, at 12957 U.S.61, New London, Mo. 63459.