New festival brings music, food and controversy to Manchester

Published: Aug. 30, 2018 at 5:41 PM EDT
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The Manchester Music Festival is making its first appearance in Clay County Thursday night.

The three-day festival is highlighting local and regional artists, including former members of Sundy Best, and will also have local food available.

"We haven't had a festival here in about five years," said Tim Parks, the president of the organization hosting the festival. "Seems like Eastern Kentucky sometimes gets a black eye. There's not another music festival like this in our region anywhere close."

Unintentionally, the festival also brought a bit of controversy concerning the resemblance between its acronym and a swear word.

The festival originally planned to use 'MMF' as its acronym, but the letters were already claimed by the Master's Musician Festival in Somerset. Instead, they used 'MMF'ERS', not realizing the word would offend some members of the community.

Despite some of the negative attention to a banner with 'MMF'ERS' emblazoned in all caps across the surface, Parks said the attention has brought a lot of publicity.

"A lady posted on social media. I've got a lot of bad phone calls, well, actually about three or four, not bad," said Parks. "But then I started getting an outpouring of support. And people just started joining our page and saying 'Hey we support you guys. We love you, keep doing what you're doing. Bring new, fresh stuff here and don't worry about the nay-sayers.'"

Parks says those at the festival will not let anyone get them down, and says they are going to have a great event this weekend.

Members of the Manchester Tourism Commission worked with Parks to make the event a reality. They say this event brings a great deal of focus on the small businesses throughout the area.

"And not only does it support your small business owners, but it brings into your community things that are great about your community", said Amy Dunzweiler, of the Manchester Tourism Commission.

One vendor at the event is a local teacher. She says her students make metal artwork in their welding class to sell at the event as a fundraiser. She says without an event like this, her students would not have been able to reach as many people.

"And it's a good way to get what our classes are out into the public", said Diana Rowland, who teaches at the Clay County Area Technology Center. "So that students know, parents know what our kids are doing at the school."

The event is free to the public and continues until Saturday.

Thursday, August 30th


6pm – Parade

6:45pm – Opening Ceremonies

7:20pm – The Blue Crawdads

9:15pm – The Phoenix Brothers Band (ft. Kristofer Lee Bentley)

Friday, August 31st


10am – Kentucky Sports Radio (at Morgan's Professional Pharmacy)

12pm – The Johnny Holland Band

2pm – Bourbon Branch

4pm – Nicholas Jamerson

6pm – Mountain Heart

8pm – Julie Roberts

10pm – The Bottle Rockets

Saturday, September 1st


11am – Hillbilly J.E.D.

1pm – 10th Street Blues

3pm – Jimmy Rose

5pm – Ray Wylie Hubbard

7pm – Chris Knight

9pm – Whiskey Myers

For more information about the event including sponsors and vendors, click