Valentine's Day is a dedicated time for love and romance, but for Mary Jane Evans, it's also a time to spread awareness. In particular, she works to spread the word on addiction and mental health problems through the B.e. Easy Music and Arts Festival at Bryant Park in Lake Worth.
The event features a lineup of talented musicians along with art, workshops, and food. The inspiration for the fest is the tragic yet common affliction of prescription drug abuse. After Evans' son Ben passed away from overdosing on prescription drugs -- originally prescribed to treat pain associated with a hip replacement -- his brother decided to hold a festival to honor Ben's life.
This is the third fest held since his death in 2011. "Almost everyone has been touched by addiction or mental illness, whether by themselves or family and friends," Mary Jane Evans told us. "Any family can become affected. Addiction does not discriminate. We want to stop the stigma and treat addiction as the disease that it is and help people who have this disease with the compassion and dignity they deserve."
Their motto is "Open Dialogue Saves Lives" and their focus is on healing through yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. "We have counselors on site for anyone wanting to speak with them. We are a resource for people seeking help," she assured.
In addition, the funds from the festival will go toward the B.e. Easy Scholarship Fund to help provide both essential contacts and financial aid to those who have a dependency issue. It also encourages discussion amongst family and friends who are affected by addicts.
The musical lineup includes a list of bands with good vibes. There's headliner Nahko and Medicine for the People, Cope, Sawgrass Express, and Ancient Sun. When we asked Evans why the fest is being held on Valentine's day, she replied truthfully, "To be honest, Nahko and Medicine for the People were in town on that day. We love their positive message and thought it is perfect for our event. This event is an outpouring of love and a celebration of life, so Valentine's Day is perfect!" Indeed it is.
B.e. Easy Music and Arts Festival. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, February 14, at Bryant Park, Lake Ave and Golfview Road, Lake Worth. Tickets cost $25. Visit beeasymusicfestival.com.