CANTON, Mass. — There was a veritable parking lot of strollers parked in front of the stage as children’s group Yo Gabba Gabba kicked off the two-day Life is Good Festival beneath sunny skies this weekend.
Life is Good, which bases its production and distribution in Hudson, N.H., is known for whimsical and optimistic T-shirts. It hosts the festival in order to raise money for the Life is Good Foundation. Thousands of people turned out to listen to musical acts including Jack Johnson, Hall and Oates, Amos Lee, and The Roots on Saturday evening, but the morning was all about the kids.
Spread across the historic Prowse Farm in Canton, dozens of games were being played by the hundreds of volunteers who participated in the festival. Tossing beanbags, playing tug-of-war and hiding inside a big parachute brought smiles to children’s faces.
That’s the point of the Life is Good Festival. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the festival fund the Life is Good Foundation, allowing the organization’s “Playmakers” to get out into areas where kids are struggling to survive and haven’t had an opportunity to just be children.
The foundation trains educators, child care workers and others in helping kids experience life beyond the difficulties they confront, whether from living in a violent home or neighborhood, or living through a traumatic event such as an earthquake or hurricane. Serving children both nationally and internationally, the foundation was built on the success of Bert and John Jacobs who founded the company and grew it to its current level of success.
Chief Playmaker Steve Gross took a moment before children’s group Yo Gabba Gabba took the stage to talk about the work of the foundation.
“Remember that there are a lot of kids out there who have to overcome poverty, violence and illness and don’t have a chance to play,” said Gross. “Sometimes in those children’s lives, life doesn’t feel so good. We try to make sure they feel safe and loved and joyful.”
Volunteers brought smiles to the faces of the kids who attended the festival, including Christine Elmore of Boston who joined 80 of her peers from a volunteer organization called HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) which has branches in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
“Life is Good aligns with what we believe about the power of optimism and positive thinking,” said Elmore. “We have a responsibility to give back to the community.”