If you’re looking to support the Special Forces and be in good company while rocking out, then you’ll want to check out the legendary band Bad Company, which is headlining the 3rd Annual Special Forces Association (SFA) Benefit Festival on May 31 at Festival Park.
    In addition to Bad Company, featuring lead singer Brian Howe, there will be at least six other bands rocking the festival, including Ethan Hanson, Stronghold, Super Drive, Donnaha Station, Motorjunkie and Falling in Two.
    {mosimage}Formed in 1973, Bad Company was a “supergroup” comprised of former Mott the Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs, and singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke, both previous members of Free. Among the group’s biggest hits are Can’t Get Enough of Your Love and Feel Like Making Love.
    The group disbanded in 1982; in 1984, the two existing members of Bad Company — Kirke and guitarist Ralphs — picked Brian Howe to replace Rodgers as the lead singer.
    Since Howe joined the band, Bad Company has sold 19 million albums and produced such hit singles as Holy Water, If You Needed Somebody, No Smoke Without a Fire and How About That.
    All the other bands playing at the festival hail from North Carolina, including Fayetteville’s own Ethan Hanson.
But the festival is more than just music, says organizer Jim Sawyer, president of Chapter C of the Special Forces Association.
    “We’ve called it a concert in the past few years, but it’s definitely a festival now,” said Sawyer. “We’ve got something for everyone.”
    In addition to the music, the festival features North Carolina’s own master of mystery, Captain Jim the Magician; the Geico No. 7 race car; the Cape Fear Harley Davidson drag motorcycle; food vendors running the gamut from seafood to ice cream to hamburgers; merchandise vendors; a juggler roaming the crowd;  a bike show — for bikes with motors — and for kids, bikes without motors; face painting and, two beer tents.
    There will also be a special display by Blackwater USA, which is providing a large, armored truck of the type used in Iraq.
    All this for $20 at the gate — $17 if you get your ticket at ticketalternative.com.
And did we mention it’s for a good cause?
    “After we pay expenses, all the money goes to the Special Forces Association Scholarship, Tribute, and Benevolent Funds,” said Sawyer.
    The SFA Scholarship Fund awards money via an essay contest to the surviving children of  Special Forces soldiers killed in action to finance the child’s education; the SFA Tribute Fund provides immediate, one-time cash donations to widows of fallen Special Forces soldiers killed in action; the SFA Benevolent Fund provides case-by-case financial grants to wounded Special Forces soldiers to help them during their rehabilitation, prepare handicap home modifications, and assist with unforeseen emergency expenses.
    Sawyer says he’s hoping for a crowd of 8,000 to 10,000.
    “It’s our biggest show ever,” said Sawyer, “which means we have to raise a lot of money to pay for Bad Company and our other expenses.”
    To sweeten the pot for attendees, the festival is offering a raffle for a 2008 Chevy Colorado pick-up, a Fender Stratocaster with amplifier and a Smith and Wesson .45-caliber handgun. Plus, your ticket earns you a shot at various door prizes — last year, the SFA awarded more than $2,000 in door prizes.
    To honor our fighting men and women, SFA is donating 200 tickets to injured soldiers at Womack Army Medical Center — one ticket for a wounded soldier and one for a guest or caregiver.
    The festival kicks off at 11 a.m. on May 31 and will end after Bad Company leaves the stage, which Sawyer estimates will be around 10:30 p.m.For more information, check out http://www.festivalsandevents.com/featurefestival.php?lid=8633 or http://www.ticketalternative.com/Events/172.aspx

    Contact Tim Wilkins: tim@upandcomingweekly.com

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