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Music fills the air around Salem during Freed Fest

Morning Journal/Katie White Floco Torres, a hip-hop musician from Akron, and country singer AC Jones (center) and her band were among the featured musical acts at the Salem Preservation Stage at McCulloch Park during the Freed Fest in Salem on Saturday. Jones is an Ohio native and her debut single “Buses and Trains” earned Top 40 status on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart following its release in 2017.

SALEM — Professional bands took to the streets and businesses of Salem on Saturday as part of the second annual Freed Fest.

The free public event in honor of the late musician Alan Freed featured more than a dozen bands and individual live music performances and was part of the Salem Second Saturday event.

Eleven different bands played at the Preservation Stage at McCulloch Park, where the Salem Preservation group also featured a small fundraising effort for the McCulloch Park renovation project.

The group’s goal is to raise between $350,000 and $425,000 for the project that would renovate the deteriorating pocket park into a socially inviting green space.

According to the group’s mission statement, an open air space will inspire social interaction and entertainment and would feature a speakers’ corner/bandstand and an eating area.

The renovated pocket park would “reflect the historic context of our own while stimulating the burgeoning local economy and small town atmosphere,” the mission statement says.

McCulloch Park is the former site of the R.S. McCulloch Co. that operated as a dry good store for several years, and was Salem’s only family-owned retail department store at the time.

To date, Salem Preservation has $10,000 available in seed money for the project, plus $10,000 the late Jackie Troll bequeathed to be used for plants and flowers in the renovated park.

Another $7,389 is available in the form of a grant to the city of Salem, and the city also has the option to apply for a $71,814 Natureworks grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Some of the musical acts featured at the Salem Preservation stage during Freed Fest included Floco Torres of Akron, AC Jones, the Grease Monkeys, and Diana Chittester.

Live music was also available at the Kent City Center, BB Rooners, Liebe Wein, Boneshakers, and the First United Methodist Church.

The Awesome Fun Music Show and stand up comedy with Jimmy the Evangelist was also held at the Salem Community Theater as part of the event.

An Alan Freed display was also available for viewing at the Salem Historical Society between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that day.

Freed Fest is made possible by the Salem Second Saturday, Downtown Salem Partnership, and Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, with special organizational and promotional help from Sara Baer, Keith Berger, Jeff Brian, Kris Danklef and Ben Radner.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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