MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Station residents rocked out with several bands and performances during the 2013 Summer Music Festival, which took place at the Penny Lake fields aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Sept. 21, 2013.
Marine Corps Community Services hosted the event in order to provide a fun family experience for station residents. "This is our way of saying, 'thank you for being with us,'" said Anthony Martinez, special events coordinator with MCCS. "Everything from set up, to turning the stage, to announcing, I pretty much do it all. But my main job is to give moral support to the troops on base and their families. This gives them a piece of America when they're 7,000 miles away; we're just trying to bring home to Japan."
Performers ranged from singers and Zumba practitioners who live in Iwakuni to Japanese bands and more. "It's been a few months since I've been on stage, so it was good to get back up and perform for Iwakuni," said Master Sgt. Lionel Saulsberry, station postal chief and Summer Music Festival performer. "The first time I was here, was when I really got started and I was performing from Fukuoka, all the way up to Hiroshima."
Saulsberry said events such as the music festival provide an opportunity for servicemembers to express a different side of their personality, something they may not get the chance to do during normal days. "Rapping is just another aspect of who I am," said Saulsberry. "It just shows that there is a lot of talent in the Marine Corps and it ranges from the lowest private, all the way up to generals. There are things people do before the Marine Corps and for me, that was rapping."
A great magnitude of support and planning is required to facilitate a show of this capacity.
Kenneth Snook, MCCS entertainment coordinator, said that his job includes coordinating with all the entities that play a role in the festival; to include the Provost Marshal's Office, IronWorks Gym and more.
"I'm kind of like a middle man," said Snook. "The most stressful times when setting up something like this will be three to four days before the event, those will normally be about 12 to 14 hour days; it's definitely like a roller coaster-ride."
Snook said that for all the work he puts into the music festival, ranging from setting up fireworks to ensuring food vendors are present, his victory moment arrives once he can take in the view of a smooth-running event. "The best part is when you just get to sit back and look at the final product and everything that was accomplished," said Snook. " Knowing people can drive by and see everything you did, it feels good seeing everything come together."
Even with this year's music fest now at an end, it only means that the lessons learned will better prepare the MCCS staff to make the next event even better.
"The feedback from everyone who participates, either positive or negative, is always appreciated," said Snook. "If it's negative, then we can change it for next year. It's been 10 years that I've been doing this and it seems like there’s constantly always something new to learn."