Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding campaigns

Local country band The Honeycutters are currently touring the East Coast in support of recent album Me Oh My, and tagging along at select shows are locals Joe Kendrick of WNCW and Tony Preston of Moonlight Mile Productions, the leading duo behind the Southern Songs & Stories documentary series. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise startup capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

Southern Songs and Stories’ second episode: The Honeycutters

WNCW personality Joe Kendrick and Moonlight Mile Productions’ Tony Preston partnered up last year to undertake a video series documenting “the heart of Southern music and culture.” Now, with Southern Songs & Stories’ pilot episode (Aaron Burdett of Saluda) already released, Kendrick and Preston are preparing to film chapter two — a journey that follows local country roots outfit The Honeycutters as the band tours in support of new album Me Oh My. “We have already begun filming the episode, trekking to their shows,” writes Kendrick, “and we wrap up the production on June 11.” Performance footage, interviews and behind-the-scenes clips will comprise the half-hour episode. Kendrick and Preston aim to raise $6,400 by Thursday, June 11, to cover crew wages and transportation, food, production, editing and mastering costs.

The Wond music gadget

Music geeks rejoice! Local inventor Paul Vo is about to debut his newest contraption — “a handheld stylus that excites, sustains and controls vibration of your guitar strings or any steel-stringed instrument.” Slightly larger than a lighter, the Wond empowers acoustic and electric guitars players alike to sustain notes indefinitely, manipulate timbres and even use the gadget as a slide — all without the use of amplifiers. Manipulating attack, release and physical placement of the Wond during playing also results in some space-age sounds, previously reserved for electric guitarists. The pick on steroids, which garnered significant excitement at the 2015 National Association of Music Merchants trade show, responds to varying degrees of pinching pressure and uses tactile feedback to help users feel strings’ vibrations, making the process more intuitive for beginners. Although Vo’s project has already far surpassed its $35,000 production goal, interested individuals may contribute to the campaign until Sunday, June 7, by prepurchasing a Wand, only available through the Kickstarter page at present.

Puzzled Clothes’ RAP garment

Longtime local art activist and Puzzled Clothes owner Rupa Russe’s RAP garment pairs functionality with eco-consciousness. Her no-sew pattern (designed as a single piece of fabric) can be wrapped or tied into a dress, skirt, vest, shawl, scarf and more. And since one of Russe’s goals for the garment is to help consumers reduce the environmental impact of their clothing purchases, donors can opt to receive a digital file of the pattern sans fabric to repurpose existing materials at home. “All you’ll need to do is have a way to print the file, some fabric to cut, a pair of scissors and a flat surface. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll have a puzzled piece,” she writes on her campaign page. “Embellish at your discretion.” Russe aims to raise $1,200 by Tuesday, June 16, to fund the digitization of her next four patterns. She’s also holding a Kickstarter party at Odd’s Café on Friday, June 5, from 4-7 p.m., where donors can attend a RAP-making workshop.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress‘ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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