October 10, 2015
Benefit for Depression & Suicide Awarness
"The message of SavFest is one of support and understanding," Staci Black, one of the founders of SavFest types to me as we chat about the Third Annual Fest for Suicide & Depression Awareness.
There seems to be a lot of Awareness going on in the past few years related to depression and suicide. For some reason, it is still a taboo topic because of the 'you're weak' stigma attached to crying out for help. So, the suffering suffer alone as most of the world carries on oblivious while complaining about trivial shit like the barista not making their coffee right.
Staci Black is hoping to change that with help from Alan Savill, who hails from the UK. Tragically, Alan lost his son Ian to suicide three days before Christmas in 2012.
Devastated, Alan started Ian's Chain so that families grieving the loss of a loved one could rent a camper to get away from the noise of the world; of daily life and cope (the best they could) with the loss of their loved one.
Our conversation with Staci was eye opening.
What is the message behind SavFest?
The message behind Savfest is one of support and understanding. Knowing that Depression and suicide touches everyone... not just the person going through it, but also the families and friends of the person suffering... Mental Health issues and depression are many times not something a person can see, and a person struggling can many times mask what they are going through... But people also do not understand the scope of it either... many people do not understand there is a difference between depression and being depressed, depression is not simply a get over it thing or a time heals all wounds thing.. depression is always there, it never goes away and without help it never gets any easier.. it does not matter who you are or how much you have, either you or someone you know struggles and suffers every single day with a disease most people do not even understand is an actual disease. And we want to help people understand that… Savfest is also a celebration, a celebration of life and friendship and hope, and music.
How did you come to be involved in this event?
I and quite a few other people became involved before the event was even thought of, through the friendships formed with the Savill Family.. for me personally, it was a way to show support and love for some of the best friends I have ever had, and to give back to them for the times they were there for me. also because I must admit even though i do not suffer from depression, there was a point in my life a couple years ago, where I felt I had run out of options. I now know what it feels like on that ledge, and maybe if I can help one person step back from that ledge and I can say I know what you're feeling, and Im here. Then maybe that person can help someone else.. and so on down the line..
Who gets the bands together for the show?
I book the bands, and it is actually not that difficult as the bands are all so supportive of the cause and the show. Most times they come to me asking to be on the show, and I cannot begin to tell you how great that feels.
Who decided The Legendary Dobbs on South Street in Philadelphia would be the place for this event?
Dobbs was the first venue to step up and say HELL YES!! We'd looked for clubs the first year and many were not really able to have an event with so many bands, and since it is a charity event, there were concerns of if the club would make any money and could they do 2 stages etc. but Dobbs just said 'Yep!! we'd love to have you here, we have 2 stages already, you can use both floors, and we are all about the charity...' so far each year Dobbs has been there 110% for us, and Nina has been Crucial in helping the planning and execution of the concert. We know that parking around South Street is a nightmare, but honestly no other venue could be as supportive as Dobbs has been..
I agree on it being important... I honestly cannot talk about it with someone face to face without getting all choked up. I asked for donations at work for the walk next weekend and I started crying.
It's impossible not to. This is a disease that you simply cannot see.. it does not show up on the skin, or in how a person walks, it does not show up in a blood test or an X Ray, and there is no known cure for it. There is treatment, but there is such a stigma and misunderstanding of it that many people that struggle with it don't get the treatment they need because they feel embarassed or humiliated, and so many people don't understand the pain that not understanding it causes.. so many people think it's a get over it proposition..
Alan Savill travels overseas every year to be a part of this event… he could probably stay in the UK. Do you know why he travels to the States?
Alan and Wendy Savill are very simply the Sav in Savfest. The show is not necessarily about them, but it is most definitely inspired by them and in support of them, and all of the families that grieve the loss of a loved one through suicide.. Alan has a radio show in England, and through social media he started meeting people from the states in bands and he started playing their music on his show.. friendships with Alan and his Family were forged through mutual love of music, which Alan calls the great leveller..
and they LOOOOOVE seeing all the friends they have on this side of the pond.
Tell me about Ian’s Chain.
Ian was a wonderful young man, a great friend to many people and loved by all that knew him.. when I was in my dark place, Ian was one of the people right there telling me to carry on. I could make it through, late night facebook chats or just a post to say hi..
He had a beautiful family, a beautiful fianceé, a gorgeous baby girl… Unfortunately he also struggled with depression his whole life, and did his best to hide it... he tried to get professional medical help but due to poor communications between organizations the help never came...
On December 22, 2012, Ian committed suicide. Needless to say, his entire family was devastated. And that feeling will never and should never ever go away, however through this devastation they started Ian's Chain in his memory as a way to help show support for people like Ian, and for Families like themselves.....
We were trying to put a concert together for fun before, but that idea crashed and burned almost immediately. And then when we lost Ian, myself and 2 friends saw Ian's Chain had been formed, and they had the first Savfest U.K. show, and we said let's do it, let's make this happen for Ian and the Savills..
Ian's Chain and Savfest and all the events Ian's Chain holds are 100% volunteer, nobody takes a pay from the events. after expenses 100% of the profits go directly to Ian's chain, and to other organizations supporting Mental Health Depression and suicide awareness.
Ian's Chain started with the idea of using the money to purchase camper vans, so that families grieving the loss of a loved one, could take the camper, free of charge and get away from all the outside noise and drama, could grieve on their own as a family... and to also support other groups in the U.K. and U.S.A. for people suffering, and for their families..
all that info is better found and explained on the website.
There is a new tattoo trend going around that involves a semicolon; it is a ‘pause’ for people who have survived an attempted suicide. Do you think this trend will help spread awareness?
The semi colon tattoos are actually a great help in that.
Have you done any semicolon tattoos?
I have done many, I actually did my first one about 6 or 7 years ago in Florida, I remember because I asked the girl specifically why she wanted a semi colon, she told me she was bi polar and a cutter, and explained the meaning of the tattoo and that it was to remind her to stop for a minute.. she wanted it in the middle of the scars on her arm..
Please feel free to add anything else that I may have missed!
Looking forward to seeing you on October 10th at the Third Annual SavFest.
And, of course, the benefit show information:
OK, so with the shows. We have been incredibly fortunate with the response from bands. So far we have had bands from Philly, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and England. Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden has come to the show, and this year again they are coming from all over, and they all do this out of their pockets. They pay for their travel expenses and hotels and they do not get one dime out of it... they come on their own to play and show support.
This year again the show is at Dobbs. It starts at 7 p.m., tickets are 20 dollars in advance and at the door. We have 9 bands playing this year ranging from an acoustic singer songwriter up to a metalcore/hardcore band, so we are covering a few genres of hard rock.
We are also for the first time being joined by Conshohocken Brewing, they will be bringing their Puddlers Row ESB beer.
$1 dollar from each pint sold goes to Ian's Chain.
I can also tell you there is a parking garage at 3rd and south across from dobbs, and at 2nd and Lombard.
Here is the event page for savfest on facebook. and there is a link on there for advance ticket sales.