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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The Battalion May 4, 2024

Bryan groups gather music acts for West relief festival

Multiple Bryan-based organizations and companies will come together Sunday to host Fest for West, a festival that will raise money to assist relief efforts for victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West.Rene Lawrence, executive director of the Downtown Bryan Association, said the idea for the event originated after family members of one of association board members were impacted by the blast, including the loss of a cousin and first responder.”We discussed how we could help and we kind of jumped on board and were excited to be able to help,” Lawrence said. “[The event is] pretty simple – it’s about raising as much money as possible for families who lost their homes or loved ones. People have to rebuild their homes and pay medical bills. Even homes that weren’t destroyed have a lot that needs to be repaired.”Lawrence said she wants people to show up and have a good time.”It’s a really simple way to get involved,” she said.The event will feature live entertainment from more than a dozen performers, all have offered their time and talents for the cause, headlined by red-dirt country musician Brandon Rhyder. In addition, Lawrence said there will be a silent auction and food provided by various companies.”All of the performers agreed to play for free,” Lawrence said. “They’re donating their time so we can make this an all-profit event.”Bucky Bachmeyer, musician and owner of Big Red Drum Entertainment, said he will perform on Sunday and his commitment to assistance comes from the same altruistic desire that fuels his business.”I built [Big Red Drum Entertainment] on the principles of helping independent artists to get their voice out there and get played more,” he said. “The idea of helping is something I do with every project. It was a no-brainer to me that I just wanted to do something.”Planning for the event began April 19, and Lawrence said the response from Bryan-College Station was immediate and overwhelming.”People started calling me wanting to donate,” Lawrence said. “We were able to get in less than a week’s time, so it’s been fast and furious. When it’s for a good cause, a lot of people jump in just to help organize it.”Kristy Petty, a small business owner and board member of the Downtown Bryan Association, said help came pouring in during planning discussion for the event.”It was a testament to our community and how giving it really is, always,” Petty said. “All you have to do is lead something and if it’s positive Bryan-College Station gets behind it.”Petty said she understands that the event will take place right before finals for students, but encourages them to help in any way they can.Petty said 80 to 100 volunteers for the event are still needed to work two-hour shifts throughout the day. For students who are interested, she said a volunteer form is available on the Downtown Bryan website. She also said silent auction items will be accepted through Thursday.Lawrence said this event is a small way to do what she feels is right and that she did not hesitate to become involved.”It’s just what you do and it’s the right thing to do,” Lawrence said. “You help out your neighbors. It’s kind of the Texas way.”Petty said the tragedy in West was easily relatable and she hopes to do all she can to help.”I’m from a small town … and I know, an event like this, what it would do to a community like where I grew up,” Petty said. “West really does symbolize small-town Texas. It touches every citizen of that small town. I’m sure everyone in West knew someone that died. I can’t imagine. Being from a small town and being able to relate to that, it spoke to me so much and I was just recognizing how it would have felt. I really think Bryan-College Station is really just a big, small town, even though it has 300,000 people. It’s like one small town helping another.”

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