Annual Benefit Holds Sixth, Final Installment

The annual benefit concert series honoring the memory of David Love has come to an end.

On Saturday, the sixth and final installment of Lovefest was hosted at the Willow Bay Theater on Third Street, featuring several local and regional bands.

The event kicked off at 3 p.m. with its first band, Hi-Fidelity, and ran until midnight. According to Shawn Sprankle, event coordinator and stage manager, the fact that this is the last time he will have an opportunity to organize Lovefest is a bittersweet occasion.

“It’s weird because I’m still tempted to kind of put that thought into how we can make next year better,” he said. “So, it’s tough but we just wanted make sure this goes the best that it possibly can and not worry about anything else.”

The event has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a hastily planned fundraiser for Love, a 2006 Jamestown High School graduate who died from a pulmonary embolism in 2008. In its first incarnation, Lovefest took place at the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena a month after Love’s passing. Organized by Sebe Margaglio, the event showcased the talents of several local bands, and achieved enough success that it resulted in the creation of the David W. Love Memorial Scholarship through the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

The scholarship of $500 is awarded to graduating JHS seniors who exhibit passion in the study of history, music and education. The scholarship also specifies that the beneficiary must possess a positive attitude and sense of humor. Thus far, more than $11,000 has been awarded to graduating students.

Since the inaugural event, the regular crowd and location has changed. The succeeding three years were held at the Allen Park Ice Rink, followed by a stint at the Gateway Center for the fifth year. Sprankle said it is fitting that the final year would be hosted at the most impressive venue yet.

“This is the first year we’ve had it at a really nice venue like the Willow Bay. We’ve got full in-house sound, we’ve got the backstage; so this year is probably the best organized and the best put together by far,” he said.

Subsequently, five years after Dave’s death, the crowds coming out for Lovefest have slightly dropped in number as well as changed from a demographic standpoint. After having a conversation with LeAnn, Love’s mother, Sprankle said it was mutually decided that this year would be an acceptable point to retire Lovefest.

“I think we decided it was appropriate to end it because everyone that was there from the start is essentially starting to move forward with their lives,” he said previously.

At the event, he added: “As the years have gone on, it’s kind of switched more from people who knew Dave to people who are involved in the local music scene. I would continue to do the show as long as (LeAnn) asked me to, because I enjoy it, but it felt like the right time to retire the show-even though we probably could continue to do it and do it well.”

This year’s lineup included bands from as far away as Massachusetts and Ohio.

Paris, an alternative rock group from Lowell, Mass., on tour with Love, Robot, of Long Island, came in from Syracuse Friday night to perform at Lovefest. Legion, a metal band from Columbus, Ohio, came to Jamestown after a tour of Texas earlier in the week. Jamestown-based bands included Artifice, Down With The Buffalo, Hi-Fidelity, Mike Brunacini and the Silktones, and Rat Ivy. Other bands included: Elemantra, from Salamanca; Eyeless Abomination, from Bradford, Pa.; and Thoughts In Reverse, from Syracuse.

“Dave listened to a variety of music, so when I sit down to put together a lineup of bands, I try to think of good bands that are going to have local draw, and what bands Dave would have listened to,” Sprankle said previously.

Sponsors of the event include: Something Beautiful Tattoos & Piercings, Farm Fresh Foods, the Love family, Jeremy’s Bel-View, Moore Auto Repair/TV Repair, Pal Joey’s, Unique Sales & Auctions, Yarn For Ewe and I’ve Been Framed.