By Dagney Palmer & Lili Samios
LEESBURG, VA –Featuring live music, attractions, interactive exhibits, food, and youth recreation, The 6th annual YouthFest 2011 is an event planned by teens for teens held at the Brambleton Town Center on June 25th from 3 to 8 pm. Tickets are $5 and more information can be found at www.loudounteens.org or on YouthFest’s Facebook page. This event celebrates Loudoun youth through music, dance, and interactive activities, prizes, and food.
YouthFest invites middle and high school students, sports teams, clubs, and community groups to participate in this year’s event. Free exhibit space for informing other teens about their group is available. YouthFest coordinator Kristin Garrett said, “We want these groups to be creative, they can set up carnival style games, a craft, a competition, even inflatables.” These student groups even have the opportunity to fundraise at YouthFest! They can sell snacks, t-shirts, etc. to represent their group or team. Student crafters and businesses are also welcome to use the free exhibit space to sell and display their wares. “There are so many talented teens in the community that make items such as jewelry and cards.” said Garrett.
A major component of YouthFest is the live musical performances by local teen bands. This year the Youth Advisory Council hosted three “Battles of the Bands” to select the best local bands to play at this year’s YouthFest. The top nine bands as well as four solo acts will be performing this year. The number one winner of this year’s Battle of the Band was Lightspeed Rescue, a 6-piece funk/hip hop group from Northern Virginia.
Lightspeed Rescue (LSR) has been performing all across Northern Virginia at anything from house parties to larger local clubs; they’ve even raised over $1800 for a cancer benefit concert! This group says they are influenced by musical groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Outkast, though they assure fans that the defining basis of their sound is each individual member’s unique style. Members of LSR include Casey Hart (drums & lead vocalist), Joe Sabatino (bass), guitarists Zach Boucher and Ivan Barry, Tyler Fraga (keys/synth), and emcee/lead vocalist Brandon Bester.
Lightspeed Rescue is going to open for the nationally known music group The Maine at YouthFest 2011. The Maine, originally from Phoenix, Arizona, has been established as one of the most exciting rising youth rock bands. The Maine has toured with diverse and well-known artists such as Boys Like Girls, All Time Low, and 3OH!3. The band’s vocalist John O’Callaghan, guitarists Kennedy Brock and Jared Monacco, bassist Garret Nickelsen, and drummer Pat Kirch, all agree that the most exciting part of performing at YouthFest this year is being back in the area and getting to play with and listen to all of the local bands.
To give a quick glimpse into The Maine’s success; the group’s inspiration comes from different artists, their love of rock music, and experiences they’ve had in their own lives. They all wanted to play instruments from a young age, and have been a band for four years. The Maine’s expectations for the near future are to try new things and come up with different ways to play their most popular songs. “It’s a lot of work,” they admitted at a YouthFest press conference in April, but the band members agree that they want to make music as long as possible and continue to grow. The Maine’s biggest reward “is when you see all of your fans coming out and supporting what we’re doing, that’s the best part.”
YouthFest 2011 is sponsored by Brambleton, Miller and Smith, WINC-FM 92.5, Loudoun Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, and Loudoun Youth Inc. Exhibit space and sponsorship packages are available by contacting Kristen Garrett at [email protected]