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New music festival in Pine Point

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In the name of non-violence, Tina Penn, with the help of her father, Bernard Crotts, are organizing a music festival this summer to promote non-violence and service to the community.

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"Violence has impacted my life in so many ways throughout my life, directly and indirectly," Penn said.

Originally from the Ogema area and after getting a degree in social work, Penn now works for non-profit organizations in Moorhead, which has exposed her more and more to victims of child abuse and violence and those with mental health issues.

She saw and heard about the actions these children and adults made after being abused and decided to look into the subject further.

"My research matched what I was seeing," she said.

So, she wanted to have a fund-raiser to raise money against violence and abuse. She took more than a year to fully research the topic and went to some fund-raisers to get pointers.

One that she went to in particular, she remembers, "the presentation was horrible but the music was great. Instantly, a thought came to me -- generally, music has been therapeutic for me."

So, her fund-raiser took on the form of a music festival, which will be July 24 at the powwow grounds in Pine Point.

"Everything is designed to be non-violent," she said of the festival. "This is meant to bring people together in a non-threatening way."

She came up with some ideas and recruited her dad for some help, and realized the work behind a festival.

"No matter how good your idea is, you have to do it. No one else is going to do it," she said.

So, Penn started finding vendors and bands to perform.

She sent out letters to several locations around area cities, and Pine Point responded first and welcomed the festival. They have found some sponsors already, but there are other costs that need to be covered; they are working on a roughly $3,000 budget.

The bands -- there will be a variety of genres from country to folk, rap to bluegrass rock -- are donating their time, and admission to the festival is free will. Everyone running the show is volunteering, and vendors are non-profit organizations that will keep the money they make off sales.

The free-will donations that will be taken during the concerts will be given to the charities of each band's choice.

"My only concern is accommodating everyone," Penn said. "It's going to be exhausting, and that excites me."

Penn said she has gotten positive feedback from the bands that have committed to the festival.

"I appreciate that they get the deeper meaning (of the festival)," she said of the non-violence approach.

She has booked six bands and three solo artists, giving 45-minute sets each and a half hour break in between sets. There will be a free jam afterward as well.

With the anticipated success of the first show, Penn said they plan to continue the festival each year.

She said there is still room available for non-profits that would like to set up booths to sell food, crafts, whatever they wish.

"We'll make history with that many non-profits in one place," Crotts said.

The festival is drug and alcohol free, with security present to enforce that.

"We can do it with nothing," Crotts said of the festival cost.

"I'm pretty happy and proud of that," she added.

For more information, Penn is keeping a blog at myspace.com/tinapennballi. Penn can also be reached at 701-371-6859 or 218-227-5692 for information or to reserve booth space.

"I try for as big as I could, and if I was going to go for it, go big," she said of the fund-raiser. "It should be a good thing all around."

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