8th Annual Smithfield Music’s Aiken & Friends Fest To Benefit Youth Music Education


$35,000 Raised To Date

Norfolk, VA (September 10, 2013) – The 8th Annual Smithfield Music’sAiken & Friends Fest offers more than just great music; the event also offers fun and informative workshops that benefit music education in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. A much-touted Fest feature, the annual educational seminars offer a variety of topic choices for those who wish to learn more about the various aspects of the music industry.

  • Songwriters’ workshop – hosted by singer/songwriters Mike Aiken and Austin Cunningham. Format governed by attendee questions.
  • Guitar seminar – taught by singer/songwriter and master guitarist Danny Flowers; open to players of any age and skill level.


  • Indie Music Promotion – insights from Northwind Records’ President Amy Aiken on the various methods the Indie artist can use to advance his career.

aiken fest presenting flutes

To date, the Fest has raised over $35,000 in donations which has funded scholarships, tutors for gifted children and purchased band instruments. SMITHFIELD MUSIC distributed 300 recorder flutes to Isle of Wight elementary school students.


Pictured from Left to Right: Hardy Elementary School Music teacher Alison Chapman, Smithfield Music’s Jim Abicht and Principal Richard Crawford.


Businesses near and far are backing the expansion of youth music education with continued raffle items and a steady influx of sponsors. “This is our biggest event of the year, and we can’t wait,” notes Smithfield Music’s Jim Abicht. “Attendees get to hear great music in a friendly Southern town with the bonus of raising funds for an extremely worthy cause.”


Festival founder Mike Aiken says of the raffle items on hand, “I am really proud of my endorsers for supporting me, the Fest and the cause by donating such wonderful items – I’m actually envious I might not be going home with any of these.” Recently donated raffle items include: a Takamine acoustic guitar, a Wildwood acoustic guitar, two TKL guitar cases and custom Aiken & Friends Fest case artwork by Cedar Creek Custom Case Shoppe.



Current Fest sponsors include heavy-hitting national businesses as well as faithful local supporters:

97.3 FM The Eagle

AirPlay Direct

Audio, Light and Musical

Crocker Farms

Hampton Inn & Suites, Smithfield

Isle of Wight Arts League

Newport News Shipbuilding

Northwind Records

Smithfield & Isle of Wight Tourism

Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Little Theater

Smithfield Music

Takamine Guitars

TKL / Cedar Creek Custom Cases

Wildwood Guitars


Performing this year in addition to Fest founder and critically-acclaimed songwriter Mike Aiken are legendary singer/songwriter/entertainer Buzz Cason (“Everlasting Love”), Country hitmaker and guitarist extraordinaire Danny Flowers (“Tulsa Time”), Texas-born singer/songwriter Austin Cunningham (“I Love You This Much”), Folk/Blues icon Mojo Collins, talented traditionalists The Hungry Monks and Contemporary Folk phenomenon LEA.




Friday, Oct. 4 / Full Day Festival Experience

7:30 p.m.Songwriters in the Round Concert (featuring Mike Aiken, Buzz Cason and Austin Cunningham)

Location: Smithfield Little Theater – 210 N. Church Street, Smithfield, VA 23430



Saturday, Oct. 5 / Noon – 9 p.m. – Live Performances

Location: Windsor Castle Park – 301 Jericho Road, Smithfield, VA 23430

Mojo Collins – solo (http://www.mojocollins.com)

LEA – trio (http://www.thisislea.com)

Austin Cunningham – solo (http://austincunningham.com)

The Hungry Monks – band (http:/thehungrymonks/.com)

Danny Flowers – solo (https://www.facebook.com/SoulfulDannyFlowers)

Mike Aiken Band – band (http://mikeaikenmusic.com)


Included in Saturday’s talent line-up will be a performance by elementary-aged school children from the Westside Advanced Guitar Club.



Weekend Pass $ 35 – all events, concerts, workshops

Songwriters in the Round (Friday only) $25

Field Pass (Saturday only) $15 advance, $20 day of

Military Field Pass (Saturday only) $10 advance, $15 day of with military ID (active and dependent)

Workshops $10



In 2005, the Isle of Wight Arts League entered into a partnership withSmithfield Music, a venture created by Jim and Elaine Abicht, to present performances by top tier professional musicians in the family-friendly venue, the Smithfield Little Theatre. Net proceeds from Smithfield Music events are donated to the school music programs in Isle of Wight County. As a program of the Isle of Wight Arts League, Smithfield Music is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and donations to Smithfield Music may be tax deductible.


Learn more about the Fest go HERE.

Get social with Mike Aiken at www.mikeaikenmusic.com, Facebook and Twitter.

# ##



Festival Media

Martha E. Moore

so much MOORE media


Northwind Records

Amy Aiken