Hundreds of service members and their families from the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., community came together for a night of live music, free food and good company at Rocktoberfest, Oct. 26.
Rocktoberfest has been held annually since 2014 by Cherry Point’s Marine Corps Community Services as a way for Marines and Sailors to unwind and build camaraderie.
“It takes a lot of people to put this event on and a lot of work,” said Beth McKenzie, marketing director for Cherry Point’s MCCS. “It’s kind of MCCS’s way of giving back to our Cherry Point Marines and Sailors.”
The headlining band for this year’s festival was Saliva, with additional music provided by DJ Big Mike and Shaman’s Harvest.
“We love doing shows for all branches of the military,” said Wayne Swinny, the lead guitarist for Saliva. “Going back to the beginning of Saliva, (military concerts) have always been my favorite shows to do.”
Not only was there a free concert for air station patrons to enjoy, but also free drinks and games including a stein hoist, a stein race and a hammerschlagen; a game where competitors attempted to drive a nail into a log of wood with a narrowed hammer.
After the service members conquered the games, the bands finished their sound checks and started to rock the crowd.
“We get a lot of fan mail from troops on tour overseas through our social media telling us how particular songs of ours have gotten them through a day or particular event,” said Josh Hamler, the rhythm guitar player for Shaman’s Harvest. “When you can help someone that has given so much for us, not only as artists, but for the country — when you can give something back that means so much to them, it’s an immaculate feeling.”
Swinny had a special message that he wanted to leave with the service members on the air station.
“Keep doing what you do,” said Swinny. “We respect y’all. We have nothing but love for our troops and will keep coming back as long as you will have us.”