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the story behind the mustang music festival

Mike Dianna’s Mustang Music Festival has become the place to be on the Outer Banks. The fall festival is two days of amazing music and family entertainment over Columbus Day Weekend. The Spring Fling kicks off the winter blues in spectacular fashion with a day of music from local and national musicians. But there is another part to this story and that is the generosity and spirit of community that Mike Dianna believes must be a part of the music.

So here is the story of where the money is going:


Born with a birth defect that did not allow him to walk on his hoofs, Vivo has received treatment and is now on the road to recovery. Photo, Corolla Wild Horse Fund

Born with a birth defect that did not allow him to walk on his hooves, Vivo has received treatment and is now on the road to recovery. Photo, Corolla Wild Horse Fund


Music Festivals Make Difference for Local Non-Profit

This year’s Mustang Spring Jam took place on May 18th at Mike Dianna’s Grill Room in Corolla, NC. The baby sister of the area’s Mustang Music Festival raised $2,275.00 for its beneficiary, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, bringing the giving total from the festival series to over $12,000 since its inception.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund Executive Director, Karen McCalpin, says, “Funds raised by the Mustang Spring Jam and Mustang Music Festival help save lives like the tiny wild foal named ‘Vivo.’ Born with a severe birth defect that caused him to walk on his toes, Vivo was rescued at the age of two days, along with his mother. Left in the wild, he would have been permanently crippled. Vivo’s veterinary bills surpassed $1,000, but his condition was corrected, and he can now grow up and live a completely normal life.”

It is the opportunity to aid in the protection and conservation of the Colonial Spanish Mustangs that drives Festival Director, Mike Dianna, to continue broadening his programming in the Outer Banks. He aims to increase awareness about the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and to assist in the funding of continued preservation of the horses’ permanent sanctuary in the northernmost Outer Banks through the proceeds from the event series. This year, the festival committee has introduced inaugural Paddle for the Horses, sponsored by Kitty Hawk Surf Co. Registration for the three-mile stand up paddle race opened on July 1st and the race will be held on Saturday, October 11th.  Details are available on the Festival website. While participants do not need to be festival ticket-holders, there are pricing incentives for those that wish to add on to their race registration and attend the festival. This facet of the event benefits and pays tribute to the Festival’s namesake and primary beneficiary, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

While the Mustang Spring Jam won’t make its return to the area until Spring of 2015, the organization encourages visitors and locals alike to get involved as a patron, volunteer or sponsor.  McCalpin adds, “Support these events, and you can be a lifesaver for other wild horses in need of critical medical treatment like Vivo.”

For more information on the festival series and how you can get involved, please visit Guests and fans may also follow the events on social media at and, on Twitter @mmfobx, and on Instagram @mustangmusicfest.


Four years ago, local OBX business owner, Mike Dianna, dreamed up a festival stating, “I want to produce a festival that musicians want to play; an event where vendors have a blast while making a profit; where sponsors not only have a fantastic time entertaining their clients, friends and families, but also leave them wanting to support the event annually; a festival where patrons and fans await the next year the moment that they step off of the site; an event which benefits one of the region’s most sacred assets, the Corolla Wild Horses.” This vision still holds true as the mission of the Mustang Music Festival, founded in 2010, enters its fourth year this October 10-11th, and is presented by Mike Dianna’s Grill Room and Saga Construction and Development. The Mustang Spring Jam will return in May of 2015 for it’s fourth year and will serve as the kickoff to “season” on the Outer Banks.


HOBWHFThe Corolla Wild Horse Fund was formed “to protect, conserve, and responsibly manage the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs roaming freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks, and to promote the continued preservation of this land as a permanent sanctuary for horses designated as the State Horse and defined as a cultural treasure by the state of North Carolina.” The Colonial Spanish Mustang is on the Critically Endangered Breed list of the American Livestock Conservancy and on the Nearly Extinct list of the Equus Survival Trust. For more info and history on the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, visit

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