Fenton Twp. — One of Fenton Township’s largest events, which took place off Lobdell Road in a residential barn and backyard Sept. 6-7, collected between 6,000- 6,500 pounds of food for local food banks and hundreds of school supplies for teachers.
Barnfest at Stoney Acres: A Community Food & Music Project, hosted by the Schmelter family along with a committee of 10 people and dozens of volunteers, grows every year. In 2017, approximately 750 people attended on Friday with 1,200 on Saturday. This year, approximately 1,000 people attended on Friday with 2,000 on Saturday, said Heather Schmelter, the youngest daughter of Phil and Deborah Schmelter.
She has a very active role in the event. This year, she ran the raffle team, which she said “could not have gone better.”
“It’s two nights of music and love of giving back to those who are in need,” she said.
Attendees enjoyed live music from more than a dozen bands on two stages. The event regularly has a waitlist of bands wanting to play the event. A security team directed people where to park and kept guests safe. While there’s ample parking on the location, attendees had to park along the road later in the evening on Saturday.
Volunteers helped by making food, collecting donations and more. Many people choose to camp on the property in tents and campers, and they enjoyed a large campfire near the barn.
The official name of “Barnfest” was adopted nine years ago.
“It started as a pot-luck, a few bands, and it was only for one night. The more our circle of band friends grew, the more bands we had asking to play, which led to the outpouring of people who wanted to support the local music,” she said.
As a way of supporting the community, the admission fee is a donation of a non-perishable food item or school supplies. The food will go to the Linden Presbyterian Church. Two other food banks reached out to Barnfest organizers and asked if they could receive a donation as well, Schmelter said. The school supplies will be distributed among local teachers.
“Please leave your religion and politics at the road and bring in your love of music and fellow man,” Phil Schmelter said.