February 13th, 2016 from 8pm – 12pm – Second Saturday Soup at The Factory, Collingswood. Read more about this monthly music and arts event and the people who make it happen!
Jackie Walther and Abby Schmidt were best friends for years. Just out of college, they decided they wanted to throw a music festival.
“We called it Ab n Jacks All Better Fest. At the time, a lot of people were going to the All Good Fest in Virginia – which had about 10,000 people.” Walther starts laughing. “So we were competing with them. In Abby’s parents’ backyard.”
The girls got the word out using MySpace and putting up fliers. They had five bands on the bill, and 200 people showed up—and stayed, camping overnight in the backyard. Abby’s parents supported her initiative, but asked their daughter to demonstrate it at a different location in future.
All Better Fest became a two-day event that grew to include food and craft vendors, all local. The second festival was held at Paradise Lakes Campground in Hammonton, NJ, and the third was at Buena Vista Campground. Snipes Farm in Morrisville, PA played host the subsequent three years, and the women formed a nonprofit to donate its revenues to the farm, which hosts educational programs for underprivileged children.
After the sixth year, life took over and the duo took a hiatus while Walther and her husband Dan moved The Square Meal, their sustainably sourced clean-food kitchen and catering service, into The Factory. Now Walther and Schmidt are teaming up with Factory owner Tom Marchetty to revive the Ab n Jacks concert series through Second Saturday Soup, a series of monthly shows ramping up to the seventh All Better Fest in October 2016.
“We want to do the festival again because we miss it, and it’s a lot of fun,” Walther said. “The already established Second Saturday program in Collingswood has given us a natural hinge to promote both The Square Meal and The Factory while ramping up to All Better Fest 2016.”
Blending music, art, and food, the Second Saturday Soup performances feature live entertainment, a la carte meals, and the same strong community vibe that is the hallmark of Ab n Jacks. Admission is free, but guests are invited to contribute a $5 suggested donation to benefit the performers.
“We’re really excited about this lineup,” Walther said. “They’re friends of ours, and great, serious musicians.”
For more information, see the Facebook event link here.
If you’d like to perform/vend at a future Second Saturday Soup and/or the next Ab n Jacks Music Festival, contact Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org.