So many things have been upended during the isolation imposed on us by the Covid-19 epidemic.
Our displaced sense of community is one that’s particularly difficult. We’re not really supposed to gather outside our own little pods right now and that means no big family celebrations, impromptu neighborhood gatherings, or concerts and festivals.
And so, to keep our communities safe, here at National Life we made the hard yet mindful decision to put our annual celebration of community on pause this year.
At a time when tents, fencing and a stage would be going up on the back lawn here of our Vermont Home Office in preparation for the annual Do Good Fest, we’re quarantining or isolating instead.
Despite the turn of events, we still revel and stand proud of the Do Good Fest community we’ve helped to build.
The Do Good Fest began with a big idea: to live our values out loud in the community to Do good. Be good. Make good. And we decided that we ought to have a little fun along the way while we were at it.
So we took advantage of the acres of sloping lawn on our hill in Montpelier, Vermont, and created an open-air amphitheater for music and food, family and fireworks.
The bigger idea behind it all was to raise money for a cause important to so many of us, the fight against cancer. We created the Do Good Fest, a free event, only charging for parking. And through the years, those parking proceeds have been turned into the annual donation that we deliver to the Branches of Hope cancer patient fund.
Branches of Hope assists cancer patients with expenses while they’re undergoing treatment. The expenses might be extraordinary or just plain ordinary. When you’re dealing with cancer, you might well be out of work and unable to pay for gas in the car or heating oil in the winter to warm your home. Branches of Hope is there to help.
At National Life’s first Do Good Fest, 1,500 showed up to hear Eric Hutchinson headline the show, along with four other bands. With the support of the community, National Life was able to raise $11,000 for Branches of Hope in that first year and established what has become an annual tradition in Montpelier, which has been our hometown for 172 years.
At the close of the 2019 show, more than 10,000 people had crowded onto the National Life lawn on a hot, sunny summer afternoon and evening and our total fund-raising hit a lifetime total of $220,000.
While we aren’t together in person this year, we created this video to celebrate all of the good we’ve done as a community in the past six years of the Do Good Fest. If you would like to tune into the playlists curated from the first Do Good Fest concerts, please check them out at our Do Good Fest blog or at the links below.
As we say in that video, although we can’t rock out in person this summer, we remain committed to the cause. . In lieu of the festival and the funds that would have been generated from this summer’s event, National Life has made a $35,000 donation to Branches of Hope.
And you know what? Maybe that’s what community is all about after all.