A half dozen of the nation's top chefs and several big names in the music world will be heading to Parkland later this month for an all-new food and music festival organized in response to the February 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
Husband-and-wife team and parents of Stoneman Douglas students Doug and Jennifer Zeif say they decided to take action after the tragedy that took the lives of 17 people. That day, their 18-year-old son lost his best friend, while their 14-year-old son, Matthew, lost his teacher.
The couple created Actions for Change, a nonprofit organization committed to raising awareness on the importance of voter registration and gun law reform. Together, they partnered with two other local nonprofits borne out of the Parkland tragedy — Shine MSD and Change The Ref — to launch what they hope will become an annual food, art, and music festival.
The inaugural Actions for Change Food and Music Festival will take place from 5 to 10 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, at Pine Trails Park in Parkland. The evening will feature food, cocktails, a beer garden, silent auction, and musical performances by some of the nation's top recording artists. Headliners include Skip Marley and Michael Franti & Spearhead. Live entertainment will also include Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, who will perform with Stoneman Douglas students and over a half-dozen prominent singers and songwriters who collaborated on an album that will be released on Spotify during the event.
"This was originally going to be a simple backyard barbecue type of event, but it's turned into something much bigger — and it should be," Doug says. "These kids deserve it. This community deserves it. But, more than anything, we need to raise awareness."
By collaborating with Superfly Presents, the executive producers for major music festivals including Bonnaroo, and Cream the Company, producers of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, the Actions For Change Food and Music Festival is expected to raise nearly $1 million to help the beneficiaries reach their goals.
During the event, more than 30 acclaimed chefs — many James Beard Award winners and chefs from Michelin-star-rated establishments — will be on hand to serve event guests a curated selection of savory and sweet dishes.
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Participating chefs include Suzanne Goin (Los Angeles), Marc Vetri (Philadelphia), Kimberly Lallouz (Montreal), Art Smith (Chicago), Danny Boome (U.K. and New York), Gabriela Camara (Mexico City and San Francisco), and Michael Kornick (Chicago). South Florida chefs include Eric Baker from Mazie's in West Palm and Brad Kilgore of Miami's Alter.
Tickets are priced $150 per person ($45 for those 18 and under) and include admission to the event, parking at the Equestrian Center, shuttle service, and unlimited food and nonalcoholic beverages. A $30 alcoholic beverage package is available for pre-purchase at checkout only and allows guests 21 and older a total of three drinks of their choice.
"We can never take back the events of that day, but our hope is that by mobilizing the next generation, no other community will experience what we have gone through," Doug says. "This Action for Change event is just our way of creating purpose out of pain. Doing nothing was not an option."
Actions for Change Food and Music Festival. 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday, September 30, at Pine Trails Park, 10555 Trails End, Parkland; 954-757-4105; actionsforchange.com. Tickets cost $45 to $295 via ticketleap.com.