Brent Hilburn loved music. Anyone who knew the young man from Rockmart knew that. They also likely knew of his bravery and his tenacity as a childhood brain tumor survivor who battled cancer and its impact for most of his 29 years.
Brent lost his battle last September, but his legacy lives on through the Brent Hilburn Music Festival that’s scheduled Sept. 28 and 29 at The Rock Campground and Park located at 130 Forsyth Lake Road in Rockmart.
The two-day event features a full slate of musical entertainment. The Friday night lineup will feature Gospel and Christian acts while Saturday will be full day of music, ranging from country to rock to blues.
The music festival’s roots go back to 1999 when local Eddie Hulsey became seriously ill. To help with hospital expenses, local musicians and friends got together and organized the first Rockstock Music Festival. It was such a success the seed was planted for an annual event to help folks in need by raising money for local charities that help Polk County.
Frankie Hilburn and his son Brent have both been mainstays with the annual music festival the past 13 years so Frankie was deeply touched when the festival committee decided to rename the music festival in his son’s honor.
It’s also fitting that the beneficiary of the first musical festival named after Brent will be Cancer Navigators. The nonprofit helps local cancer patients – primarily from Floyd, Polk, Chattooga and Gordon counties – on their journey from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond. The Cancer Navigators team and their free services are a complement to the medical expertise of area cancer care provides by guiding patients and their families toward a better understanding of diagnosis and care and to connect them with needed resources on their journey.
“We know firsthand how devastating this can be on families,” said Hilburn, who is a cancer survivor himself and has watched five members of his family battle the disease as well. “That’s why we want to help others who are on their cancer journey.”
Tickets are $15 for adults and include both days of music. Students get in for $5 and kids under 6 are free with an adult. Those with military ID are admitted free as are seniors 65 and over. Tickets are available at Cancer Navigators in Rome, J&L Discount and Pizza Depot in Rockmart and at the Music Depot in Cedartown. Group discounts and festival tents for churches, families and groups are available by calling 678-409-2981.
The Sept. 28 lineup on the Gospel and Christian music night, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will include Christian recording artist Jimi Bennett, Second Coming, Steadfast and the popular Gospel group The Talleys.
Then Sept. 29 sees Nashville country star Doug Stone headline a full day of music that starts at noon and includes Dirt Road South, Clay Broome, Blues Network, Scratch Off John, Kris Anderson and the Would Be Thieves, Black Friday, Isaac Streetman, and Bennie Gray and the Trailer Park Cowboys.