Country Roads: Years roll by but the music plays on

By Vinusha Paulraj

There were familiar scenes at the Mount Lavinia Hotel last Tuesday as the hotel geared to welcome one of its favourite events. We were catapulted straight to the set of an Old Western film.

Expertly rolling-out their cowboys’ red-carpet of wooden barrels, cacti and bales of hay, the stage is all but ready for the Country Roads Concert for Children 2015.

“We try to put something more than music on the plate,” said President of the Country Music Foundation (CMF) Feizal Samath addressing a news conference on Tuesday at the hotel. The concert with a cause, has the proud record of being the longest-running musical show in Sri Lanka and South Asia. Country Roads 2015 will be held on Sunday, October 11.

CMF President Feizal Samath speaking at the news conference. On his right is William Lynch, Director Save the Children and on his left Harinda Weerasinghe, Resident Manager, Mount Lavinia Hotel

As much as the fans, Country Roads attracts its line-up of local and international guest performers.

Returning to the Country Roads stage “after around six years” is popular local favourite, the band Flame. Other well-known names joining the worthy cause are the Cosmic Rays and Mariazelle.

Energetic performances by German band- Mavericks and Astrid Brook’s soulful tones are part of this year’s celebration. The Mavericks have been an integral part of Country Roads for around 12 years now and have immersed themselves not only in the music but in the causes supported by CMF in Sri Lanka.

“The concert is getting old as are its organisers,” quipped Mr. Samath while stressing that new causes and good music keep the team motivated.

This year’s beneficiaries are to include Meth Mihira School of Special Education in Koralawella- Moratuwa, the Children’s Heart project for their work with the Lady Ridgeway Hospital and Kudaligama Central College Kalutara which is a school in need of musical instruments.

The show apart, a few added events will also raise funds for the cause. The Mavericks and Astrid are to serenade guests at a dinner hosted by the German Embassy, on October 9. Proceeds of this dinner too will be for the causes supported by the CMF.

Dirk from the Mavericks and Astrid Brook will also share their journey with Country Roads, at an exclusive dinner at Rs. 10,000 per plate, for 50 guests on October 10 at the Mount Lavinia Hotel.

Speaking at the launch Country Director of Save the Children, William Lynch shared that funds generated by Country Roads last year were devoted to developing a standard of nutrition for children in the hills. “16 out of the 23 CEOs in the plantation sector needed little convincing to come on board,” he said.

Currently both state parties and independent collectives like the Planters Association are now actively working to market a clean, premium Ceylon tea which is produced in nutrition-conscious environments.

Tickets for the Country Roads Concert for Children 2015 can be purchased online at http://www.tickets.lk, via SMS and in selected stores. Crowd-funding is also possible if you wish to make a donation, at http://www.help.lk.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150920/plus/country-roads-years-roll-by-but-the-music-plays-on-164631.html

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