HANNIBAL — Local rock band NOWAKE has a direct connection to firefighting, and their performance at the 10th annual Epic Music Showcase, set for Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Hannibal POPS Club, is directly related to a worthy cause in this life-saving field.
Since the first Epic Music Showcase a decade ago, local charities such as Pinkie Pals and burn victims supported by the Hannibal Jaycees have benefited from the event. When the festival moved to the Hannibal POPS Club about four years ago, NOWAKE lead singer Mark Kempker said the focus shifted to supporting the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
“Being a firefighter who has been to the funerals of two fallen firefighters in the state of Missouri — and I knew them both in some way — this is very near and dear to our hearts because one day we may not be coming home.” he said, emphasizing that the organization covers volunteers, paid firefighters and every other type of firefighter nationwide.
An average of 100 firefighters lose their lives each year in the line of duty, with the exception of 9/11 when 343 lives were lost. Kempker said the foundation provides immediate support such as 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 firefighting heroes and provide resources to help their families rebuild their lives and work within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.” , according to the website of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Kempker said donations will be accepted at the event and people who cannot attend the Epic Music Showcase can also contact the Hannibal Fire Department to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation cause.
“With three of us being firefighters in the group, it was the right thing to do,” he said.
The NOWAKE lineup includes Kempker on vocals, Sean McHargue on guitars, Austin Birkhead on guitars, Ryan Gilmore on bass and Mark VanWinkle on percussion.
Fans attending the show can expect a variety of rock selections from the band’s three albums – along with a possible surprise. Kempker said the band is “polishing” the first track from their upcoming fourth album, and the as-yet-untitled song could make its public debut at the event.
“A lot of our songs are influenced and inspired by some of the things we’ve experienced in our own lives,” said Kempker, noting how the band members’ various experiences have influenced many of the song’s compositions and the way they’re performed. . “We hope someone can take a little bit of that away 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 Hannibal POPS Club gates will open earlier this year at noon, with a youth hot tub, corn hole tournament, car show presented by the Midwest Menace Car Club and a wide variety of live entertainment throughout the day.
Acoustic acts Liz Bentley, Seth Wade and Dan Cairns will perform. Greylight Divide will take the stage later in the day. Discrepancies, NOWAKE and headliner September Mourning round out the day of energetic 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 is a major sponsor and 105.9 The Grizz 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 and under receive free admission. There will be no ATMs on site, so all visitors are asked to bring cash.
The registration fee for the Cornhole Tournament is $40. There will also be food, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Kempker said half of the food proceeds will be donated by the POPS Club to a local Christmas charity. He encouraged everyone to bring their family and friends for a unique experience.
“That’s the joy in that 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 this is about, what it really means is that a firefighter gave his life for someone else in the line of duty. That’s what the Fallen Firefighters Foundation is all about.”
Hannibal POPS Club is located about two miles south of Hannibal, at 12957 US61, New London, Mo. 63459.