Benefest IV flyer

Benefest IV To Raise Funds For Gathering Place, Stuart’s Opera House

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‘Tis the season for giving, and once again, Athens musicians are coming together to show support for local causes.

Hot on the heels of last weekend’s benefit for Union Street employees, a dozen local bands are scheduled to perform at the fourth annual Benefest.

The fest kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. at Casa Cantina. Days two and three, originally scheduled to take place at The Union, are now being hosted by The Over Hang (on Friday) and The Smiling Skull (Saturday).

Proceeds from the three-day festival will, as in past years, benefit The Gathering Place and the Stuart’s Opera House After-School Music Program.

Hocking College School of Music students booked and organized this year’s event. The students were free to choose new beneficiaries, but decided to continue with The Gathering Place and Stuart’s.

Funds raised for The Gathering Place will go toward various activities and programs for the mentally ill, while Stuart’s program fosters the growth of young area musicians–something dear to the organizers’ hearts.

“We think it’s a great thing because some kids don’t get the opportunity to experiment with music,” said Hocking College School of Music student Tayler Harter. “Stuart’s offers that and we think that’s really cool.”

While Benefest offers Hocking College students the chance to work with area nonprofits, they also reap the educational benefits of organizing and promoting a show. Scott Winland, head instructor at the Hocking College School of Music, takes pride in the work of his students.

“Most of our students organize events at local and regional venues year-round, but Benefest gives them experience of organizing a fundraiser for some great local organizations,” he said. “A three-night benefit requires a unique coordination, different from simply booking a show.”

Each year, students are presented with a list of local bands by Winland, who owns/operates Blackout Booking, a national booking agency based in Athens. According to Winland, there was no shortage of local acts interested in playing the festival.

This year’s lineup is certainly eclectic, with genres ranging from shoegaze to punk and acoustic-folk singer/songwriters.

“My students are encouraged to look at the previous year, and raise the bar,” Winland said. “I think each year is better than the last.”

For those unable attend the shows, organizers are encouraging online donations to Stuart’s Opera House and The Gathering Place.


Thursday, Dec. 4 (Casa Cantina)

9 p.m. The Gatherers (Gathering Place band)

10 p.m. The Summoners

11 p.m. Megawave

12 a.m. Waivada

1 a.m. Weird Science

Friday, Dec. 5 (The Over Hang)

10 p.m. Unmonumental

11 p.m. Dead Hand of Man

12 a.m. Dweeb

1 a.m. Wholehearted Halfwits

Saturday, Dec. 6 (The Smiling Skull Saloon)

10 p.m. Adam Remnant

11 p.m. Hex Net

12 p.m. Nuddhist Monks

1 a.m. Blond