CHICKWEED coming to Salisbury this weekend

Published: Jul. 17, 2014 at 2:33 PM EDT
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Sue McHugh
Sue McHugh

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Heard about CHICKWEED?  It's coming up this weekend in Salisbury. What is it?  In the words of the event's organizer, here you go:

Coming to Salisbury on July 19th, 2014 - the 3rd annual CHICKWEED ~ Celebrating Indestructible Women open-air evening of music and art ~ an all-women revue featuring music, dance, and art – the event that attracts 100s of people to N. Lee Street in Downtown Salisbury.  There is no other event like this in Rowan County!

CHICKWEED is the grass-roots brain-child of (7) local women who participate in the arts and music scene in Salisbury NC. They created CHICKWEED as an opportunity to perform together, creating the unique opportunity and perfect synergy to foster a fundraising and awareness event...for women, by women… for the Family Crisis Council of Rowan County and its Battered Women's Shelter.  CHICKWEED donates 100% of its net proceeds to the Battered Women's Shelter.

CHICKWEED is an open-air evening of music, art, massage, and more to benefit the Rowan Family Crisis Council's Women's Shelter.  City of Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson kicks off the event with a proclamation proclaiming CHICKWEED DAY!  Eleven performers, all ages and genres, take the CHICKWEED stage from 5pm to midnight, while guests enjoy local food, wine, and beer and a host of vendors offering fun and interesting wares.  A special treat this year: Little 8-year old Gracie Bemus opens the show with her award winning fiddle playing ~ and LYRIC Leeda Jones will close the show with her special brand of funk that has audiences on their feet!  The show never stops!

The 400 block of N. Lee Street is closed from E. Kerr to E. Cemetery Streets on July 19th ~ and the festivities take place both in the street and the indoor space at the Spoken Space Theatre.  At 5pm, art and music fill the air as men and women alike take in the concert and street fair setting for the third annual celebration.

CHICKWEED is the proud recipient of the Rowan Arts Council's Arts & Cultural Development Grant.

WHAT:                CHICKWEED ~ Celebrating Indestructible Women

WHEN:                 Saturday July 19, 2014

WHERE:              Spoken Space Theatre

405 N Lee Street Salisbury NC

TIME:                   5:00PM ~ 11:30PM (doors open at 4:00pm)

CHICKWEED will feature performances by:

  • Grace Bemus ~ little blue grass fiddler & songstress
  • Willow Catherine ~ pop singer/songwriter/guitarist
  • Chelsea Rae Childers ~ quirky & fun original singer/songwriter/guitarist
  • Lyric Jones ~ groove style guitarist, singer, songwriter
  • Gigi Dover & The Big Love ~ gypsy soul music ~ singer/songwriter/guitarist
  • Reeve Coobs & The Band of Men ~ folky pop singer/songwriter/guitarist
  • Laura Vella ~ smooth & smoky, guitarist & pianist, singer/songwriter
  • Ashley Jo Farmer ~ pop/rock ballads
  • April Turner ~ Storytelling Through Dance
  • Mary Gillespie ~ country music singer guitarist
  • Hula Hoop Dance by Katie Hopkins


  • Original gallery art by Paige Thrasher
  • Chair massage by Green Life Massage
  • Reflexology by Shalom Regel Reflexology
  • Aluminum garden art by Elizabeth Edwards' Urban Sparkle
  • Handmade jewelry with Sky's The Limit Jewels
  • Interactive Art with Jessica Buckwalter & Salisbury Art Station
  • Candles and artisan jewelry with Wendy Beeker & ZINC
  • Caricatures by Terri Doyle
  • MaryKay Cosmetics with Jenny Jones
  • Jewelry and hand-made pottery with Jenni Pfaff & Green Goat Gallery
  • Handmade leather notebooks by DeAnna Brandon & Vintage Way
  • Hand-made vintage hats by Nanci's Fancies
  • BBQ provided by Rev's BBQ
  • Shish kabobs with KABOBS
  • Local wine with Morgan Ridge Vineyards
  • Beer and soft drinks provided by Spoken Space Theatre

Coming to CHICKWEED?  You can bring items for the women's shelter such as toilet paper, cleaning products, children's toys and books, new t-shirts & sweatpants, new flip flops, old cell phones, and more.  Check the 'Our Needs' tab under 'Get Involved' on the Family Crisis Council website (

CHICKWEED will raffle a Takemine Acoustic Guitar (value $250) from Guitars USA; a silent auction will feature a Fuji Sunfire Bicycle (value $500) from Skinny Wheels Bike Shop & more.

Advance price tickets, $12.00/person, are available in advance a:

  • Pottery 101 (101 S Main St, Salisbury NC),
  • Southern Spirit Gallery (102 S Main St, Salisbury NC),
  • Green Goat Gallery (561 S. Salisbury Avenue, Spencer NC)
  • Tickets are also available at

Ticket donation at the door is a suggested minimum of $15.00. CHICKWEED donates 100% of its net proceeds to the Family Crisis Council of Rowan County.

You can find CHICKWEED on the Internet at or on Facebook at For questions or further information, contact Sue McHugh at 704.577.9965 or email


 Introducing the CHICKWEED performers:

Grace Bemus:  CHICKWEED is delighted to have our very, youngest performer join us this year, Gracie Bemus accompanied by her brother Gabe ~ a bluegrass fiddle player and singer from Salisbury, NC.

Grace Bemus (age 8) has always loved music.  Since she could talk, she was singing.  At the age of 6 she began playing the fiddle, soon playing bluegrass tunes with her big brother, Gabriel (age 11).  Grace participated in her first competition at Union Grove Fiddlers Convention, placing 3rd in the children's competition.  In the fall of 2013, she competed in the Granite Quarry Civitan Fiddler's Convention where she placed 2nd for most promising talent.

Mary Gillespie  ~ Country music guitarist & singer ~ Salisbury, NC

Mary Gillespie has lived in Rowan County for most of her life and has been singing since she was 4 years old.  Gillespie started playing the guitar at 23, performing in Nashville at the Nashville Palace and for the Charlie Daniels Talent Roundup.  Mary enjoys playing country, bluegrass, folk, southern rock and contemporary Christian music and has been a feature artist in the local and very popular (sold-out!) Songs Down a Country Road and Meet Me in Memphis shows.

Katie Hopkins ~ Hula-hoop dancer/fire dancer

Katie began hoop-dancing in July of 2012. Since that time Katie has attended several hoop-dance retreats and workshops throughout North Carolina and has taught hoop-dancing workshops and classes at schools and community centers. She currently teaches hoop-dancing classes at Rufty Holmes Senior Center. Katie is a 2013 graduate of Catawba College with a degree in Theatre Education.  Katie will be performing hoop-dancing between performance sets at CHICKWEED 2014.

April Turner: April C. Turner of Life as Art Productions, a native of Charlotte, is an accomplished writer, actress, and producer, specializing in using art as a tool for positive social change. Among her produced writing credits are C.O.T.O.: Chocolate on the Outside, Reservations, Starlight and Moonshine Times, Pickle & Lil'Junior and Nikky's Gone. As an actress, Ms Turner has had supporting roles in made-for -TV movies such as Ditch Digger's Daughters, Stephen King's The Night Flier ,and Texas Cadet Murders among several others. Ms. Turner is the 2005 recipient of the Mahogany Dime Award for Excellence in the Arts in North Carolina and the PEARL Award for Outstanding contribution to the Arts.

Ms. Turner's residencies, workshops, and theatrical innovations make her a favorite among communities and cultural organizations nationwide. She uses the arts to expose individuals and communities to new ideas while offering them artistic methods for maximizing their potential.

 Ashley Jo Farmer:  Ashley Jo Farmer, is a singer/songwriter rooted in the heart of North Carolina, living here in Salisbury.  Ashley is an amazingly gifted and creative vocalist with a wondrous range of textures and styles, and pitch-perfect control.  She harmonizes effortlessly, and blends so intuitively – her co-musicians say she is a joy to hear and create with.  Ashley is also a consummate performer, always professional, with a wide open heart.   Ashley is currently best known for her work as a touring background vocalist for the Billy Jonas Band, whom she has toured with since 2005, playing at many notable venues including the 2010 White House Easter Egg Roll. Ashley Jo also performs with a three-piece backing band, the Ashley Jo Farmer Band (AJF Band) for live concerts.

 Willow Catherine:  Willow Catherine, one of the original CHICKWEED performers and once the youngest ‘Chick', is a very talented pop music singer/songwriter from Salisbury, North Carolina ~ now attending Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN.  Willow has been playing piano since age six, guitar since age 15, and singing as long as she could talk. Willow's performs favorites from some of her influences which vary from modern Maggie Eckford, & Kimya Dawson to classic Hall and Oates, The Beatles and so many more . . . and her originals will blow you away!  Willow performed the CHICKWEED produced January 2013 solo concert "Intrépide", donating 100% of her proceeds to the Family Crisis Council. Willow hopes to bring joy and hope to everyone who hears her music, and says, "It is the universal language".

 Chelsea Rhae Childers:  Since the age of thirteen, Chelsea Rhae Childers has been teaching herself guitar, and began to perform in high school at talent shows then moved on to playing at open-mic nights and collaborative gigs at local venues in college. As the voice for television commercials, creator of store jingle advertisements, and accomplished songwriter published on iTunes, Chelsea's music career led her all the way to performing thirteen shows in Los Angeles last year. She has one solo EP recorded, and is recording more soon.

Rooted in an intriguing partnership of folk/rock melodies, and anti-folk acoustic songs, this singer/songwriter manifests both sentiment and depth into her collection of straightforward and evocative tunes about love, loss, and ephemeral longing in a world of social constructs.

Her lyrics are equally eclectic, often taking the form of abstract narratives or first-person character studies, similar to short stories or vignettes put to song. The layered palette of songs in her collection include highly original and passionate contemporary folk/rock arrangements that feature Childers' progressive folk lyrical style, showcasing her talent for rich musical textures.  Chelsea Rhae Childers, coming to CHICKWEED from Gastonia NC, has become a local favorite, playing at local pubs and donating her performances for benefits such as CHICKWEED and the Historic Salisbury Foundation's 'October Tour of Historic Homes'.

Laura Vella:  Laura Vella is the rare, multi-talented gem every music producer mines for. Laura plays both acoustic and electric guitar, piano, and is an accomplished drummer. Her smoky, bluesy voice covers a truly amazing array of tunes (friends call her the walking juke box!) as well as a portfolio of original tunes.  Laura hails from NYC where her multi-faceted performances were a mainstay of the local music scene.   This is Laura's third year with CHICKWEED!

 LYRIC ~ Leeda Jones: "Forget being signed. Paper fades. Legends don't. I was born one." This is the philosophy LYRIC lives by. They started out as street musicians, filling downtown Asheville streets corners with a groove sound and style that is so unique, they please any crowd. Playing covers such as "Fast Car and Give me One Reason," by Tracy Chapman, to their compelling version of Tear the Roof Off/ We Want the Funk," by George Clinton, and well known catchy originals such as "Blue Skies," and "So High," it is impossible not to get into the LYRIC groove!  Lyric is a favorite within the festival scene, and has also performed with Grammy award winning Count M'Butu from Derrick Trucks band, and they have opened for Grammy award winning Lizz Wright. The band has released a full album called "Guitar Feet." LYRIC recently performed with Indigo Girls member Amy Ray.

Gigi Dover & The Big Love ~ Gigi Dover, the singer/songwriter/artist, and Eric Lovell, the producer/engineer/ multi-instrumentalist, are the duo at the heart of the collective musical unit Gigi Dover & The Big Love.  Gigi and Eric are native Charlotteans and both have been writing, recording and performing since the early 1990s. "World music through the eyes and ears of Southerners" is how Producer Eric Lovell describes their music that features Gigi's sultry vocals, to Eric's masterful string work on sitar, guitar, pedal steel, ukulele, mandolin, bass, and tambura. Their music is a danceable meditation that raises the bar of typical Americana music into a decidedly international arena.

Reeve Coobs ~ It's well known in certain Charlotte music circles that one of the best voices in town belongs to Reeve Coobs, familiar to most from her work with the folk outfit the Near Misses. Throughout her Misses' tenure, Coobs' alto stood out for its clarity, power and range.  Unbridled by a succinct subgenre definition, Reeve runs the gamut of folk from the pop end to the rock end, picking up some country/Americana sounds on the way. While Reeve's flawless, live vocals rival the precision and quality of a great studio recording, her talents extend even beyond that to skilled guitar-work and piano-playing. Coobs surrounds herself with a crack band to pull out the nuance in her songs or kick things into overdrive. 


More good things at CHICKWEED:

Green Life Massage:  Located in Historic Downtown Salisbury, Green Life Massage provides distinctive bodywork for the greater Rowan area, dedicated to improving the health, knowledge, and state of mind of our clients by offering holistic treatments and healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Green Life Massage is the joint practice of Michele Smith, Margaret Clark, and Frankie Tucker. All three are highly skilled massage and bodywork therapists, certified in some of the most sought after bodywork techniques in the industry. Each therapist has both practiced and taught therapeutic bodywork for many years, and customizes each massage session to address their clients' needs, drawing from an extensive background in bodywork training and continuing education. Green Life Massage provided chair-massage at CHICKWEED.

 Shalom Regel Reflexology:  Cynthia Hill of Shalom Regel Reflexology provides a reflexology experience at CHICKWEED. Reflexology is the scientific art of maneuvering maps of the feet and hands with specific thumb and finger walking techniques to encourage a balanced, restorative result.  A relaxing experience, reflexology can sooth jangled nerves, stressed minds, and aching bodies.  The amazing part of any reflexologist's work is watching how the individual's body/mind/spirit internalizes and uses the signals or frequency that results.

RailWalk Studios and Gallery will again take part in CHICKWEED ~ staying open until 9PM, and generously donating a percentage of sales to the Family Crisis Council women's shelter.

This year, the City of Salisbury and Mayor Paul B. Woodson Jr are proclaiming the week of July 13th through 19th CHICKWEED Week, and will proclaim July 19th as CHICKWEED DAY.  Mayor Woodson will open the celebration at 4:45PM by reading the proclamation from the CHICKWEED stage!  The proclamation recognizes that CHICKWEED ~ Celebrating Indestructible Women  attracts visitors to Salisbury from all points of North Carolina, and has earned the respect of the community for its contributions to people's lives, and for working with the Family Crisis Council to ensure more efficient and effective services.

Other vendors for CHICKWEED 2014 are:

  • Urban Sparkle Aluminum Art with Elisabeth Edwards
  • Chelsea's Picks ~ guitar pick jewelry
  • ZINC ~ vintage décor and jewelry
  • Mary Kay Cosmetics with Jenny Jones
  • Nancie's Fancies ~ handmade vintage hats
  • Dunns Mountain Music ~ handmade musical instruments
  • Green Goat Gallery ~ local pottery and jewelry
  • Dazy Chain ~ handmade hemp and beaded jewelry
  • Scotty's Treasures ~ books and jewelry
  • Sky's The Limit Jewels ~ handmade jewelry
  • Hoffner Organic Farms ~ healthy living advocacy
  • Family Crisis Council ~ victim advocacy
  • Salisbury Pride ~ human rights advocacy
  • Salisbury Art Station ~ interactive art


A small silent auction will be conducted with donations to CHICKWEED as follows:

  • Guitars USA is donating a Takemine acoustic guitar to CHICKWEED.
  • Skinny Wheels Bike Shop is donating a ZZZ bicycle to CHICKWEED
  • Local artist Patt Legg is donating an original work of art to CHICKWEED.

Proceeds from all auctioned items will benefit the Family Crisis Council.

Arts and Cultural Development Grant:

The Rowan Arts Council awards its Arts & Cultural Development (ACD) Grants biannually to arts & cultural development organizations and individual artists seeking to expand access to arts and cultural opportunities in Rowan County.  The ACD grants are designed to support the vision and mission of the Rowan Arts Council by providing direct support to arts and cultural partners in Rowan County.  CHICKWEED is a proud recipient of the ACD grant for Spring 2014.

SPONSORS:   CHICKWEED 2014 is supported by generous donations from all points in the community.  We especially thank our Angel Sponsors Trinity Oaks and Gerry Wood Automotive for their generous support, an addition to so many other contributors from the community:

Angel Sponsor 

  • Trinity Oaks
  • Gerry Wood Automotive

Abundance Sponsor

  • Barbara Senter
  • Team Chevrolet

Sustaining Sponsor 

  • Wallace Realty
  • Nancy Gaines Law

Contributing Sponsor

  • Edward & Susan Norvell
  • Hoffner Organic Farms
  • ZINC Interiors
  • Pottery 101
  • Todd Paris Law
  • Arey Realty
  • Century 21 Realty
  • Artemisia Art & Yoga Studio
  • Fine Frame Gallery
  • Sweet Meadow Café
  • Platinum Salon
  • Go Burrito
  • KKA Architecture
  • Salisbury Therapeutic Massage
  • Salon RAAA
  • Robert Jones
  • Carr Gardner

Gift of Giving $50

  • Cut Up & Dye
  • Uncle Buck's All-American Grill
  • Greystone Salon & Spa

CHICKWEED is grateful for in-kind donations from:

  • Buttercup Catering
  • Godley's Garden Center
  • JG Media

All CHICKWEED vendors choose to donate a portion of their sales to the women's shelter, in lieu of a vendor booth fee.  We thank this generosity on the part of our wonderful participants in this event!

CHICKWEED also collects donated items per the Family Crisis Council "Wish List" (  People who are interested in donating items can bring these to the event:  toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning product, cell phones, toys, and more ~ and CHICKWEED will deliver these to the center.

The Family Crisis Council of Rowan County, a United Way agency, is a non-profit organization that specializes in helping those affected by rape, incest, sexual assault, and domestic violence.

The Mission of the Family Crisis Council is to help empower victims of rape, incest, sexual assault, and domestic violence take back their lives and eliminate violence in our community by awareness, prevention activities, court advocacy, emergency shelter, 24 hour crisis support, information/referral services, and individual and group counseling services.

CHICKWEED, in its third year, remains true to its vision and is one of the largest women's performance organizations in Rowan County and one of the most stable, thriving, fund-raising arms for the non-profit Family Crisis Council of Rowan County in Salisbury, North Carolina. CHICKWEED is an annual rain-or-shine event.

For more information about CHICKWEED ~ Celebrating Indestructible Women, look for CHICKWEED ~ Celebrating Indestructible Women on Facebook (, contact Sue McHugh at 704.577.9965, or visit Violence comes in many shapes and forms and affects all ~ violence does not discriminate.  Be part of the solution. Help CHICKWEED help those in need: women, children, families in Rowan County.