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MCC-Blue River to host free, diverse Wolfstock music festival Friday, Aug. 6, on campus

July 19, 2021
By Mary Beth Hope

Wolfstock headliner Joey Marlow
Wolfstock music headliner Joey Marlow (courtesy JoeyStoic on Facebook)

Emcee Leona Noel (photo by Ashley Corbello)
Emcee Leona Noel (photo by Ashley Corbello)

Hip-hop artist Lil Beans (courtesy LilBeans816 on Facebook)
Hip-hop artist Lil Beans (courtesy LilBeans816 on Facebook)

In celebration of the return to in-person classes for fall, students at Metropolitan Community College-Blue River will host a truly collegiate-style music festival 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6 on the campus quad. Wolfstock — named for the MCC Wolves —will feature five music acts that will compete for audience votes and the grand prize.

The event is free and open to the public. MCC-Blue River is at 20301 E. 78 Highway in Independence.

The idea for hosting a music festival was born out of a desire to build a sense of community on campus and involve current students in promoting enrollment, according to First Gen Club sponsor and sociology instructor Cynthia Heddlesten.

"Through that process," she says, "we decided to identify an event to hold at Blue River that would really make people want to come to our beautiful campus."

Student Dennis Nash says students wanted to show "how much fun this campus is with all the activities we have going on."

Local singer/songwriter Joey Marlow is headlining Wolfstock. Marlow performs a wide range of covers (Elton John, Journey, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, Evanescence, Maroon 5 etc.) and some originals in a deeply soulful rock style. Wondering what "deeply soulful" means? Well, it may help to know that his devoted fans are affectionately known as "Crybabies."

Drag queen Leona Noel will serve as emcee for the evening. Noel (aka Thad McCullough) is the founder of the popular Thadapalooza event, an annual variety drag fundraiser benefiting the LGBTQ+ community of Independence.

Also performing will be Holiday Drive (rock covers), Simon Goodloe (pop/rock), BrothaNewz (hip-hop/rap) and Lil Beans (hip-hop/rap).

"It's going to be the most inclusive, diverse concert, like, ever, in Kansas City," Heddlesten says. "That's something the students were adamant about from the beginning."

Blue River students will be among those performing (Holiday Drive and Lil Beans).

"I'm proud that we get to showcase the talent of some of our students," Nash says, "and I really hope people come out to support their fellow students."

The howlapalooza will culminate with the announcement of the evening's battle of the bands champion. The winner will take home a prize pack including cash and donated gift certificates to local restaurants and music stores.

Attendees can purchase hot dogs, nachos, shaved ice and other classic refreshments at two K & C Concessions food trucks.

Organizers' target audience is 17 and up. Parents should use discretion when deciding whether to bring children, as lyrics of later-in-the-evening performers will be explicit.

Attendees should bring lawn chairs and blankets — but leave pets, alcohol, drugs and tobacco products at home, as those are prohibited on MCC campuses. 

A rain date has been set for Friday, Aug. 13. Inclement weather notifications will appear on and MCC's social media accounts. For additional info about Wolfstock, visit