by Jessica Nicholson
Trio Runaway June’s Natalie Stovall, Jennifer Wayne and Naomi Cooke are set to perform on Saturday, Feb. 27 at Island Time Music Festival, and they are using the performance to give back.
Each year, the festival raises money to support the operating costs of The Little Yellow School House, a school for special needs children in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
“One of our favorite parts of this is we actually get to go to the schoolhouse and see where all the money is going and see it grow every single year,” Cooke recently told radio.com’s Katie Neal. “I think they started off with 10 or 12 kids, and now they have over 60.”
“In Mexico, if you’re special needs, you don’t get to go to public school,” Cooke added. “So this little school is very, very important… and it’s awesome to be able to go there and be able to be like, ’This is what 45 minutes of playing music gets for all these families.’”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Island Time Music Festival will be a virtual event. In addition to Runaway June, the festival will feature performances from Lee Brice, Vince Gill, LOCASH, Jake Owen, John Rich, and more. This year’s virtual event is produced and directed by Shaun Silva, known for directing numerous country music videos for Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, and for his work on Chesney’s documentary The Boys of Fall.
“We’ve all gotten to be there for so many years,” Stovall said. “So you get to go back to the school every year and see how the kids have progressed. It’s so rewarding to be a part of that. Also, a lot of this is helping with the staff and making sure they’re taken care of. You just see the joy… it’s all pure joy when you go to The Little Yellow School House. Every single year, it’s just the best.”