"Power to Peace" Festival Preview- Join Veterans for Peace on August 11th at the Vic Theatre

The nation’s only veteran organization fully dedicated to abolish all war, Veterans for Peace, is hosting their first Chicago Convention and Music Festival August 9th-13th, 2017 at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe, Chicago.

"Power to Peace" Festival Poster; Image courtesy of Power to Peace/Veterans for Peace

Veterans for Peace is also presenting its very first music festival, “Power to Peace Festival” at The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, Chicago, on Friday, August 11th at 6pm.

A night of musical and cultural exchange will take place by former veteran musicians, poets, Chicago bands and DJs at the Festival. Among the talent to be seen are: rap/hip-hop performer Miles/Megaciph, Chicago’s Rock/Soul artists “Acres to Miles”, former veteran turned performer James Toler, nationally known Oklahoma blues artist Watermelon Slim; the U.K.’s Jim Radford, Chicago’s jazz singer Maggie Brown, and many others, including DJ Dapper, Brittney Chantele, Kaylee Shahira, and Poetry Cipher. (See grid below for performers and set times).



Megaciph at the U.N.; photo by Gianna Leo Falcon

In 2014 Miles/ Megaciph published CIVILiAM, an album inspired by his four years of service in the USMC. The album is filled with true stories and anecdotes from his tours in Okinawa and Cuba as well as service here in the states. He has donated 100% of the proceeds from this album to “Veterans For Peace”. Megaciph is set to release one solo mixtape and possibly one collaborative EP this summer, with plans for the next few albums already brewing for an ever growing body of work.

This reviewer had the opportunity to interview Miles/Megaciph, an emcee, teacher, poet, writer and avid free style rapper about his dedication to Veterans for Peace, the upcoming Power to Peace Festival, of which he is in charge, and the inspiration behind his music. His thoughtful and inspirational words are paraphrased below: He advised me “Megaciph stands for Mental Energies Gather and Circulate in Positive Harmony”. He uses his music “to address social issues and advance progressive thinking by writing about matters that affect me personally, such as ‘Black Lives Matter’”. He uses the same approach in his blogs, and on Instagram, as well.

I inquired about the differences between Miles and Megaciph.“When I sit down to write”, he mused, “I write from the perspective of a person on stage, Megaciph. I can see the audience as I’m writing. It’s very important how the audience reacts to my work. Before I let the words stay on the page, I edit them carefully.” Then he confided, “I am just now learning to record in my Miles voice”.

He organized the “Power to Peace” Festival, and reviewed all the submissions from musicians, narrowing them down. He spoke with enthusiasm about all the artists who will be appearing, he noted, “Acres to Miles is really funky rhythm and blues. Maggie Brown is just amazing. Watermelon Slim is a living blues legend”.Miles was in the Marines from 1992-1996. He is “totally tied in” to Veterans for Peace. He finds them “absolutely relevant” today. “The organization resonates with people; the overall mission is to have a world without war”. He is the founder of ThatsGoodness Entertainment, a not for profit record label with a focus on human rights.

In all of his work, he “wants to provide a space for socially conscious artists to be heard. We are at a point in time when hurdles need to be crossed”.


Acres to Miles; photo by Danielle Garnier

Blurring the lines between rock and soul, ACRES TO MILES’ strength lies in a musical artistic exploration lead by a wide-open sound straddling across genres, and a song-writing style that embraces lyrical humanness. Formed in 2016 by lead singer B-A, guitarist Jeremy Mann, bassist Emery Joe Yost and drummer Jared Rosenblum, this American band illuminates a funky, unique collection of styles.

James Toler; photo by Lars Teeney

James Toller is a 29-year active duty U.S. Army Vet for Peace who has seen numerous deployments. Most of his music was written in war zones as personal therapy. He self produced and was invited to master his current music at the Iconic Abbey Roads Studio in London.  He began to perform in public to help empower children and others in need. His accompaniment for the concert at the Vic Theater will include a female bass player-of the Baha'i faith, a former homeless man on lead guitar and a drummer who was arrested at Diablo Canyon protesting with Jackson Browne.

Watermelon Slim; photo courtesy of Power to Peace/Veterans for Peace

Watermelon Slim has been called "The most exciting and authentic blues performer I've heard in years”, by A.W., Paste Magazine. He is a 2x Winner: 2008 Blues Music Award Band of the Year and Album of the Year; 2x Winner: 2006 & 2007 MOJO Magazine's #1 Blues Album of the Year;  Winner: 6th Annual Independent Music Awards Blues Album of the Year

Jim Radford at the Royal Theater; photo courtesy of Power to Peace/Veterans for Peace

Britain’s youngest “D Day” veteran, Jim Radford is also its oldest known Shanty Singer! Reared in the pub singing culture of his home town, the Yorkshire fishing port of Hull, Jim’s a capella singing style and knowledge of traditional sea songs have long been appreciated at Maritime festivals and around the British Folk Scene. However, it was not until 2014, on the 70th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, that Jim gained national prominence when BBC TV broadcast his show-stopping performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall, of his autobiographical song “The Shores of Normandy”; an intensely moving tribute to his shipmates and the many who did not return from “The Longest Day”. Jim is also a prominent veteran of the anti nuclear and Peace movement.  A founder member of CND (the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, whose simple logo has become the global symbol for Peace), the Committee of 100 and Veterans for Peace UK, he has been at the forefront of many campaigns and demonstrations since 1954 and now regularly sings anti war songs at events in London, especially, in recent years, at the Cenotaph.

Maggie Brown; photo by Bruce Williams

Maggie Brown​ is an accomplished singer, songwriter, stage director, producer and educator. She is said to be “one of the most fiercely committed artists in Chicago”, by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune. Brown embodies a powerful and passionate performance whether she is presenting with her own trio or with Orbert Davis’ full 60-piece Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Orchestra. She has recorded with Abbey Lincoln, Jonathan Butler, Ramsey Lewis, Stevie Wonder and her legendary father Oscar Brown, Jr. In 1995 Maggie launched her own independent label MagPie Records releasing her first solo project “From My Window”

"Veterans For Peace" Education not Militarization poster; image courtesy of Veterans for Peace






Set time

Set length (minutes)

Artist Name




DJ Dapper




Brittney Chantele




Watermelon Slim




Kaylee Shahira




Maggie Brown




Jim Radford




DJ Dapper/Intermission




Poetry Cipher

Spoken Word



Acres to Miles

Soul R&B



James Toler 







For information and tickets to the 1st annual Power to Peace Festival, go to the Power to Peace Festival website





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