So I’ve had a few hours to decompress after an amazing weekend at SADFest 2016. This heart warming festival is not only a gathering of the best local bands from around the United States, it also focuses attention to the very serious issues of suicide, addiction, and depression. Forty one bands and 12 different organizations came together in the balmy Hammonton, NJ sun to participate in open forum discussions to combat depression, promote the importance of unity within a community, demonstrate healthy lifestyle choices to increase a positive thinking, and rock out to incredible music music.
This festival is not only one of the most popular Atlantic County showcases, but also one of the most important. SADFest tackles one of the biggest beasts that often bleeds over into the music community. Suicide, addiction, and depression has affected everyone in one way or another. We may have family members or friends that succumb to the daunting ghost that is depression and addiction. We may also suffer from the same haunting issues this festival addresses. What sets this festival apart of any other in the area is that the co-organizers responsible for this weekend, Jose Martinez, Mari Beth, and Herimel Fernando Colon have a full understanding on mental health and went above and beyond to fully educate these crippling issues. Throughout the festival featured amazing guest speakers like Carolyn Coburn from the Spread the Love Foundation. She shared the tragic story of her daughter Samantha Coburn who took her own life on August 14, 2014 at the age of 19. There were also many free workshops aimed at those wanting to learn more pratical steps at combating depression, how to cope with life’s everyday struggle through meditation and yoga, small seminars outlining the benefits of music therapy, and fantastic instructional lessons on how to respond to drug induced medical emergencies.
Then we had the music. Grandaire Booking did a fantastic job at providing a great showcase of local music from all around the country. Standout performances from emotional acoustic artists, heavy metal ensembles, and lively alternative bands made for a perfect tie in for SADFest advocacy. Hundreds of kids shuffled throughout the grounds to hear their favorite bands like Ben Greenblatt, Old City Revival, Meraki/Toska, Tie Goes to the Runner, Clearview, Brock Landers, Rachel, Entropy, My Life On Film, Sleep In, The Second Side, Pines, Grayscale, Burial Mound, and so many more. Your Persona and Vacate even provided an extra treat with performing a secret set to end the festival. The two day party event also featured food from Grandsons and Tacos Al Carbon, both staples in the Grandaire Community.
These past two days were filled with so much love from the time the festival open to the closing remarks made by the organizers. The different workshops balanced alongside the musical performances is a welcoming benefit to attending the festival. It demonstrated how serious SADFest is in trying to educate about these illnesses and mental diseases. The organizers didn’t just throw together a bunch of bands and say “Yep depression sucks, go out, and buy the band’s merch”, co-organizers Jose Martinez, Mari Beth, and Herimel Fernando Colon had wanted all attendees to take away something more valuable. They took the time to find the best speakers, teachers, and community leaders in an attempt to gradually abolish suicide, addiction, and depression once and for all. We love our friends, families, and also ourselves, so we should do our all in making sure we all are mentally well taken care of. In closing, SADFest is a wonderful and enlightening experience everyone should be apart of. See you all next year.
Last modified: August 1, 2016