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Photo provided via Facebook event page.

'Benefest' to support local programs, showcase musical talents

Musicians will be able to support other musicians with the 10th Annual Benefest on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4 at The Union, 18 W. Union St. 

All proceeds from the show, hosted and organized by Hocking College Music & Recording Industry, students from Hocking College Radio (WLCI) and Blackout Booking, will go to benefit Stuart’s Afterschool Music Program and The Gathering Place. 

“Benefest offers students of our Music & Recording Industry Program (at Hocking College) hands-on learning experience helping to organize and coordinate a two-night live music event that benefits the community,” Scott Winland, director of the Music & Recording Industry Program at Hocking College, said in an email. “Aside from the specific technical and managerial aspects of hosting a live music event, Benefest offers a service-learning component that integrates meaningful community service and civic responsibility into the project.”

Winland also said the students have managed to work with about a dozen local businesses to support the event, including O' Betty's Red Hot, Stewart-MacDonald, Stuart's Opera House, The Union, Casa Nueva and Cantina, Blue Eagle Music, Ohio University Airport, Dainty Prairie, Quinn Amorette Ceramics and more. 

“I was talking to Scott Winland the other day, it's just so amazing to see because he has continued to support arts education and the Stuart’s Opera House program,” Devin Sudman, education director at Stuart’s Opera House, said. “Since he's also the instructor at Hocking College, it's great to see his support in the community, support of all ages and abilities of music education, not just at higher education.”

Cost of entry is $8 for those over 21 and an additional $2 for those under 21. Raffle tickets will be on sale for $1. 

The Friday night show will feature performances from the likes of Sneakthief, Boy Jorts, Water Witches and In Flow. Saturday night’s line up includes Velvet Green, Infinite Improbability Drive, Tomorrow Daily, KAIBA and The Gatherers.

“I'm just really always amazed at the generosity that you see from musicians, and I just think people should just go out and support them,” Ginger Schmalenberg, the executive director of The Gathering Place, said. “The proceeds are going to basically help people make more music.”

Both The Gathering Place and Stuart’s Afterschool Music Program utilize the funds raised from the event toward music supplies to support their programming. Schmalenberg said in the past, the event would bring in anywhere from $500 to $1,500. 

“Accessibility is one of those buzzwords right now in the industry or in society, and a lot of people think accessibility – that just means that you need to be able to easily obtain something,” Sudman said. “And it seems easy, but it's really not. How are we going to make sure that we can pay program managers competitively with the industry? How can we make sure that students are being fed? How can we make sure that we have proper equipment to use? How can we make sure that the lights stay on?”

Benefest provides the opportunity to not only fund those programs but to also showcase what musical talents Athens has to offer. 

“Athens County is truly saturated with incredible, incredible talent,” Sudman said. “And it's just awesome to see opportunities of them being able to do their thing, all while helping support the next generation of artists and critical thinkers.”

@acarter3602

ac732319@ohio.edu

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