Local Cumberland band to take center stage at Freedom Fest

Event honoring soldiers, veterans, first responders returns to Orange Park Mall

By Don Coble don@claytodayonline.com
Posted 6/22/22

ORANGE PARK – Cumberland will step away from its comfort zone of cozy clubs and late-night sets this Saturday when the local band performs at Freedom Fest at the Orange Park Mall.

The festival …

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Local Cumberland band to take center stage at Freedom Fest

Event honoring soldiers, veterans, first responders returns to Orange Park Mall

Posted

ORANGE PARK – Cumberland will step away from its comfort zone of cozy clubs and late-night sets this Saturday when the local band performs at Freedom Fest at the Orange Park Mall.

The festival of music, food, games and fireworks was put on hold for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will return on June 25 to honor active duty, veterans and first responders. The event, which is free to attend, runs from 4-9 p.m.

For the Cumberland band, it’s an opportunity to expand their set lists to new audiences.

“Our goal is to play for as many people as we can,” said vocalist and guitarist Hunter Hayes. “We’re really excited about Freedom Fest because I think it’s going to be an opportunity that opens us up into getting to play music for a lot of people that might not come out to a bar on a weekend or something like that.”

Three of the four members of the band – Hayes, drummer Jeremy Doughtry and bassist Kerry Lucas – are from Jacksonville, while lead guitarist is Gabe Bullard from Middleburg They focus their music on classic 1990s country songs, but they plan to sprinkle in a few of their original songs during their show.

“We’re going to try to do a pretty good job of blending newer country in some 90s country. That was kind of been one of our things. There’s not too many people in town playing that 90s country,” Hayes said. “And I mean, in my opinion, I think that’s one of the best areas of country music so it’ll be a good match between some newer stuff that you hear on the radio, some 90s country, and then we’ll probably throw in three or four original songs in the mix as well.

“Our influences are kind of like the sound that we’re going for are Jason Aldean, Bradley Gilbert and Muscadine Bloodline. I’d say those are three pretty, pretty good influences that kind of helped shape our sound.”

Cumberland will play ahead of the night’s main headliner, country music duo Crawford & Power. The duo has opened for a variety of artists including, The Marshall Tucker Band, Willie Nelson, Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, Luke Combs, Cody Johnson and 38 Special.

Guests are asked to bring lawn chairs and blankets; however outside food and drink will not be allowed in the event area and all bags will be subject to search, according to mall officials. The 25th annual event will feature a variety of local food trucks, veteran-owned businesses and crafters. Other activities include a kid’s zone, a silent auction benefiting St. Michael’s Soldiers, a Veterans Lounge, beer and seltzer, plus a fireworks finale to end the evening. The event is made possible through partnerships with Double A Productions, WQIK 99.1, Santori Fireworks, Fields Automotive, Jacksonville Memorial Gardens and Clay Today.

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