by Dave Warner

Rustic Ties in Dolgeville will be hosting a music festival called “Miles for Meag” on Saturday, August 27th, from 10 am until 10 pm. The Miles for Meag Music Festival is a fundraiser to raise money for suicide prevention and to help support families that are coping with suicide.

About five months ago, Meagan Stewart took her own life at the young age of 22. Her mother, Tracy, felt like she had to do something to not only honor her but to help others who might find themselves in the same situation.

“I  talked to other parents who have gone through this, but when this does happen, there really aren’t any support services out there for parents, siblings, and loved ones to navigate through the quagmire,” she said.

Tracy felt like she needed to create the Miles for Meag foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit to help people with thoughts of suicide and to help support their families.

“I really feel that we need to address the lack of support services. The closest suicide support group is in Amsterdam, so I really want to get a group up that can help.”

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020 alone, 45,979 Americans died by suicide. On top of that, there were an estimated 1.20 million suicide attempts.

On average, there are 130 suicides per day, while at the same time, 93% of adults that were surveyed in the United States think that suicide can be prevented.

When a suicide happens in a home, it might be weeks or months before the family is able to return. This is where Tracy got the idea to make sure that there was a home available if someone needed it.

“It would be one less thing that you’d have to worry about. You could come to this house, grieve, go through the process of planning a funeral, and handle all of the unexpected things,” she stated.

Tracy’s daughter loved music, and when she was trying to come up with an idea for the fundraiser, a music festival came to mind. “I really didn’t know how much it would entail, but we’ve been able to pull it together.”

They have contacted a lot of bands, some of which haven’t been seen onstage for one reason or another in a while. “We’ve ended up with a great lineup.”

Performances include Carson Murphy, Grit N Grace, Spoony & The Tone Chasers, Jonathan Minter, Caged Fury, and Jennie and The Buckshot 5.

“This fundraiser will allow us to start getting the support services in place and to get literature to the schools.  So it’s a combination of everything to get the organization up and running,” Tracy said.

“My daughter loved life. She was full of life and literally lit up a room with her smile and laughter and just her presence. It was a shock to all of us,” she stated.

There are also going to be chicken BBQ dinners available without having to attend the event, with a batch at noon and another at four.

The Hot Air Balloon Company has also donated a hot air balloon ride that will be raffled off to help raise money.

For more information, you can visit them on Facebook/MilesforMeag, email milesformeag@gmail.com or call 315-360-3281.