For an event that started out as a get-together for musical friends five years ago, Roy Ward admits that Wappstock has grown into a huge summertime tradition for Southeast Missouri.
“That first year, we put the whole thing together in about two weeks,” laughed Ward.
About 135 people showed up for music and fun.
Every year the event has grown, and it has gained purpose.
“We raise money for kids to go to camp,” explained Ward. As a former Scout leader himself, he believes in the power kids gain by learning to explore the outdoors world. So now the event pays for scholarships for kids to go to various camps that they might not be able to go to otherwise, such as Girl Scout and Boy Scout camps, church camps, etc.
“Really, today’s kids need this more than ever. They need to put down the electronic games, their cell phones, the tv remote, and all those gadgets that are keeping them inside the house. They need to get out there and be kids,” said Ward.
Families can apply for scholarships to camp, and the scholarships generally are about $200 each.
“We’ve helped a lot of kids go to camp,” said Ward. He added that all of the money the group donates for camp scholarships goes to local kids and local organizations.
“A lot of fundraising groups send money outside their own community. And a lot of it is eaten up by administrative costs. That is not so for this money. It all stays local to help local kids,” he noted proudly.
So, Wappstock is fun with a purpose.
This year, the event is being held Saturday, August 6 at Lake Wappapello.
More than a dozen bands are slated to perform on three stages, and there will also be a car show, motorcycle show, and Poker Run.
An event added this year is a Friday night Sock Hop at the VFW with music provided by SEMO DJ. The cover charge will be $5 and is open to the public.
The bands for this year’s event include Black River Blues, Michael Mason & Road Dogs, Paragon, 2 Lane Hwy., E.L.B., Scott Shipley, Jesse Emery, New Old Stock, Bryan McCormick & Patchwork People, Brady Nichols, Dix Hat Band, Cynderblok, Gibson Rose, and Shotgun Daddy
Wappstock begins at 9 a.m. with registration for the car show and poker run. But even before that, a biscuits and gravy breakfast is being served at 8 a.m. at the Eagles Pavilion with the Ladies Auxiliary serving up both biscuits and gravy, and Southern Hospitality.
Music will begin at 10 a.m. at the Pavilion and will run until 3 p.m. The main stage in the Bingo Hall will open at 3 p.m. Main stage cover will be $15. There will be stages at the Eagles Club Pavilion and Crabb & Company.
The other music venues are free to the public, along with the Car and Bike Show.
Tickets for this year’s Wappstock are available at the Wappapello VFW. The Eagles Club, or from himself and Joe Bancroft. Tee shirts are also available for purchase this year.
Ward noted Wappstock would not be possible if it weren’t for the help of so many people and groups, including the Wappapello Eagles 4066, Wappapello VFW 4316, both who have donated use of their facilities. Jim Hager is donating his DJ services for the Friday night Sock Hop.
“So many people pitch in to make this thing happen,” concluded Ward. All the musicians are donating their time to the cause.
He added a crowd of about 300 to 400 is expected for this year’s event.
“This event has definitely grown,” he laughed. “I would like to thank everyone for making this possible.”
All events are open to the public.
For more information call the Wappapello Eagles, 573-222-9877, or the Wappapello VFW at 573-222-9687.