Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

“It's not too late to bring the old-timers' wisdom, their strengths, their skills to the modern, digital world,” says Mountain Roots Revival founder Beth Ledbetter Chester. She hopes to do just that with an online video magazine and handmade market dedicated to old mountain traditions. Image from Chester's campaign page

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up 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.

Mountain Roots Revival

Mountain Roots Revival founder Beth Ledbetter Chester was inspired by the 28,000 “folks who shared our film of mama making dough bowl biscuits in the bowl that grandpa had carved for her,” and so is setting out to preserve the mountain ways of her elders depicted in the popular video. “Our focus is on the old ways — on keeping them alive, keeping my parents’ and grandparents’ way of life alive,” she says, listing crafting, sewing, quilting, gardening, cooking and baking among the topics of interest. User-submitted videos from Appalachia and beyond are welcome. “There will also be an online, handmade market where anyone who practices the old ways … can have a storefront of their own where they can share films of their process and market their handmade and homemade goods,” she says. Chester believes the small boost in income will inspire more people to adopt and share age-old traditions in their everyday life, turning relics into rituals. Chester aims to raise $20,000 to reimburse herself and her husband for the time and resources to record others’ videos, purchase better recording equipment, pay for legal services and insurance for the company, open a small kitchen from which others can bake for the market and create a web presence.

Click here to view Chester’s campaign video.

The Hanover Hangout Block Party

In her spare time, West Asheville server Lexy Rae has been putting together a multi-stage festival with art exhibitors, games, food vendors, self-made street decorations, a DIY screen-printing workshop and a brimming music lineup — you know, just for the heck of it. The Hanover Hangout Block Party takes place on Hanover Street in West Asheville Sunday, Oct. 4, from 3-10 p.m., with performances by The Krektones, Charlie Megira, Axxa/Abraxas, Ouroboros Boys, Kreamy Lectric Santa, The Jokes, Ellipser, Ancient Whales, JC Graves, Lommol (DJ set), The Errs, Ritual Contact, Appalachian Mudd and Shifty Drifters. Attendees can also browse art by Mad Maxx, Chryssha Guidry and Kristen Larsen and food by Rick Shaw and Smiling Hara Tempeh. Just down the street, the Double Crown will host a karaoke after party ($5 cover). Rae says funds raised on her GoFundMe page and $5 suggested donations will first cover the special event permit and barricades to block off the street. Depending on how much is raised, Rae may compensate participating bands and volunteers and recoup the cost of supplies and decorations she’s built.

Photo from Hanover Hangout's event page
Photo from Hanover Hangout’s event page

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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One thought on “Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

  1. Beth Ledbetter Chester

    Thank you Mountain Xpress and Kat McReynolds for featuring Mtn. Roots Revival’s old-ways, online, video-based magazine and handmade-market goals…we appreciate your assistance so much! We would love to feature films of Western North Carolinians (and others) and pass their wisdom and skills to a new generation! We’re hoping the exposure for the concept will help us accomplish that goal.

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