Brian Koscho of Unmonumental, a band that will perform as a part of the 2018 Benefest at Casa Cantina on Thursday, November 29. (Photo by Scott Winland)

WLCI and Blackout Present Benefest 2018 Nov. 29-Dec. 1

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Hocking College Radio (WLCI) and Blackout Booking have teamed up once again to present three days of rock ‘n’ roll and goodwill, an endeavor known as Benefest. The event will take place at The Union and Casa Cantina, kicking off on Thursday, November 29 at Casa Cantina. The event is organized by Hocking College students enrolled in the school’s music program and the funds raised by it are donated to Stuart’s Opera House Afterschool Music Program and the Gathering Place.

“This will be our eighth Benefest. The event started and remains a very hands-on project and assignment for my students at the Hocking College School of Music, giving them experience managing a three-night live music fund-raising event. Aside from the obvious technical and managerial aspects of hosting a live music event or festival, Benefest offers a service learning component that integrates meaningful community service and civic responsibility into the project,” said Scott Winland of Blackout Booking, who is also the Program Manager of the Hocking College of Music. “We are super thankful for the venues and organizations that work with us each year to make this happen.”

Wes Gilbert of Smizmar, who will grace the stage of The Union as a part of Benefest 2018 on Saturday, December 1. (Photo by Scott Winland)

Winland explained that each night is organized by teams of five students.

“A popular strategy for these teams is to book an eclectic mix of acts each night… something for everyone. They have certainly done that with acts ranging from LUNG to The Coal Cave Hollow Boys to Velvet Green; I’m super proud of what they have accomplished with this year’s line-up,” he said.

Winland stated that utilizing the stages specifically at The Union and Casa is intentional for several reasons.

Kate Wakefield of LUNG, who will perform on Thursday, November 29 at Casa Cantina. (Photo by Scott Winland)

“Historically, both businesses have been super supportive of our program. Graduates of the program and current students alike work or have worked at both venues. Josh, Grace, Alicia and all of the Casa family have been super supportive of our students over the years, and it is an honor to continue to connect my students with them. Josh (Brown), in particular, takes time each year to meet and talk with the class. Very cool. The Union, of course, is our home base of sorts, and hosts lots of events co-promoted by my students,” he said. “Learning to run sound and manage that stage/room is a great launching pad for those interested in pursuing work in the live music and promotion industry. Each room has advantages and challenges, and it is great to see our students adapt to whichever room they are working.”

Stuart’s After School Music Program and the Gathering Place have established relationships with WLCI and Blackout Booking.

“Our students and faculty have worked with both Stuart’s and The Gathering Place on various projects over the years,” said Winland. “These are incredibly solid local programs that do so much for our community; we are proud to contribute to what these organizations are doing.  I wish that when I was a little rocker growing up in Athens, that I could have taken band/music lessons from Adam Remnant at Stuart’s… Can you imagine how cool and fun that must be?!”

Ethan Bartman of Guru Babies, who will perform at The Union on Friday, November 30. (Photo by Scott Winland)

Headlining Thursday night at Casa Cantina is Cincinnati’s LUNG, which prominently features the playing of the electric cello by Kate Wakefield. Also performing on Thursday are Spare Change, Raw Canvas, Unmonumental, and the Gathering Place’s The Gatherers.

Friday night’s performances at The Union will feature The Awful Kind, Guru Babies, Sex Tide, and The Coal Cave Hollow Boys. Saturday will bring Caution Step, Smizmar, The Slicks, Slut Castle, and Velvet Green to The Union.

Every night doors for the shows open at 9 p.m.