When Keith and Holly Murray’s son, Caleb, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer at the age of 11 about two years ago, the Murrays found themselves dealing with more than just his disease.
“We had insurance through where my wife worked,” Keith Murray said. “I quit my job so I could take care of him 24/7. Losing over half our income was tough.”
For more than a decade, proceeds from the annual 12 Bands of Christmas music collections and performance, which will be on Saturday, Dec. 7, have helped families just like the Murrays, who have not only battled cancer with their child but have suffered financial challenges along the way.
Caleb underwent about 14 months of chemotherapy and has been out of treatment for about a year.
“They stepped up one month and paid our mortgage,” Murray said. “They knew what was going on.”
The 12 Bands of Christmas Festival at Augusta Common on Saturday will have bands performing between noon and 8 p.m.
Performers include Acosta, Celia Gary, Derelict String Band, The Gilded Youth, Happy Bones, The Hollerers, John Kolbeck, Leatherlips, Panic Manor, Skilyr Hicks, Adam Thompson and Karen Gordon.
Two bands will perform on a 12 Bands float during the Miss Augusta Scholarship Pageant 2013 Christmas Fantasy Parade, which begins at 2 p.m. on Broad Street. The festival also surrounds the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m.
The fundraiser changed formats last year after several years at the Imperial Theatre.
“It’s a long show,” said Joe Stevenson, 12 Bands’ director. “We felt we needed to go into more of a festival.”
With the performances taking place over an eight-hour period, bands can play longer and have time to set up their instruments in between sets instead of rushing to take the stage, he said.
While the festival itself is free, there is a VIP tent with food and beverages. VIP tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children and are available at the 12 Bands of Christmas Web site, 12bands.org.
“This is a great time to come out and party with the city,” he said.
This year’s recording is available as a digital download on iTunes and on Facebook at the 12Bands page, facebook.com/12Bands.