Friends coming through for Joey Fest
By: Katei Cranford
Artists and musicians will band together in honor of Joey Deweese for “Joey Fest” on Oct. 7 at the Blind Tiger.
More than a dozen performers aim to celebrate Deweese’s life and love of music while helping his family cope with economic impacts following his death.
“We grew up going to shows and using them to escape the real world and the pressures of life, it only made sense to do a show to raise money for the Deweese family,” said Kyleigh Chesnutt, Deweese’s longtime friend and festival organizer.
“People talked about setting something up, but a lot of the guys who wanted to do it needed to grieve before worrying about anything else,” Chesnutt said. “So, my sister and I took the initiative, reached out to Joel Collins, and it just took off from there.”
Organizing the festival felt equally natural to Chesnutt’s sister, Jaden Craig. “We grew up going to shows and supporting people through benefits,” she said. “This is exactly what Joey would have wanted, so we worked to make it happen.”
“It wasn’t hard to get people together,” Chesnutt added, “Joey was a huge part of this community, and the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.”
“It’s clear the world tragically lost a wonderful person when you see the impact on his family, friends and the community at large,” said Michael Sileno from Night Sweats, one of the scheduled artists.
Deweese was a familiar face in the North Carolina hardcore scene. Most of the bands playing are some of his closest friends. Tyler Phillips and Josh Duncan (from With These Hands) had known him since childhood. Members of Old Heavy Hands had a heavy hand in inking the multitude of tattoos he sported.
“The option to play was open to anyone local who wanted to donate their time,” Craig said. “Joey’s taste in music was very eclectic; he listened to a little bit of everything.”
“People might have expected the fest to be a strictly hardcore or metal show,” Chesnutt added, “but he was into so many different genres of music, we wanted to cater to that.”
Spanning genres, friend groups, and coastlines, Joey Fest will bridge gaps of time and space with a special one-time reunion from Territories, one of Deweese’s favorite bands.
“When I heard the news, I was floored,” said Aaron Coleman, former vocalist for Territories (who now lives in Tacoma, Washington.) “Joey was the most loyal and real dude I knew. So when I heard they were doing a show, I called my old bandmates and told them there’s just no way we weren’t gonna play. I wanted to get on this bill and show out for our boy.”
Coleman and Deweese had known each other since they were teenagers. “It’s inspiring that everyone can come together like this,” Coleman said, “and it just shows that music can bring us all together and allow us to do something so amazing for someone.”
Beyond bands, artists and local businesses have gotten involved by donating goods for a raffle and silent auction. Items up for grabs include a two-night stay at La Quinta, party room rental at Boxcar, gift cards to local restaurants and tattoo parlors, yoga classes, locally-made art, jewelry, baked goods, and more. Proceeds will go directly to the Deweese family.
“We’re focused on being able to help out Joey’s mom as much as we possibly can with legal fees and everyday expenses,” Craig said. “She’s gone through a lot of loss in the last year.”
Joey Fest is a celebration. More than a concert, it’s a chance to help build something everlasting for those affected: an experience made from shared memories and love for those no longer with us.
“Joey’s mom is planning to have some signature books for everyone to sign because she wants to be able to see who all attended,” Craig said. “She’s absolutely moved by how much the community has come together and shown their love for her son.”
“He touched more lives than anyone ever realized,” Craig added. “It’s our duty to help his family any way we can, I know he would be doing the same if the roles were reversed.”
Joey Fest is on Oct. 7 at the Blind Tiger (1819 Spring Garden St.,) the all-ages show features: Old Heavy Hands, Night Sweats, Territories, Green Fiend, Jonathan Ricardo Timber, Born Hollow, Gooseberry Jam, Cleigh Isai, With These Hands, Fever Strike, Blood Ritual, and the Source.
A limited number of tickets remain for purchase without fees at Golden Spiral Studios (206 S. Elm St.). Tickets will also be available at the door or online via www.theblindtiger.com.
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd. She hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio-show that runs like a mixtape of bands touring through NC, Tuesdays from 5-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.