Wookfest 2018: A Symphony in Pain
Written by: Matt Drummond
Photo Credit: Rick Lancaster Photography
The long awaited homage to our late friend,and brother, Jeff “Wookie” Ziolo took place on June 16th, 2018. It was the continuing fruition of an unparalleled devotion to keep Ziolos memory alive through celebration. After hastily constructing the inaugural Wookfest in 2017, President Patrick Chidley learned from the experience, and grew. Now having an entire year to arrange Wookfest 2018, Chidley assembled a board of directors to help him perfect his vision for Wookfest. Wookfest 2018 was a polished version of 2017. Each person that Chidley appointed to the board of directors has their own strength, and the allegiance was felt immediately.
One aspect that has helped make Wookfest successful, is the massive amount of people that Ziolo has left an impact on, and their eagerness to help in any way they can. The donations that were made, the vast turnout, and the broad generosity from countless people was immeasurable. The outpouring of support can only be described as, ‘The Coalition of the Wookie’.
As the doors of Reggies Rock Club opened, the Ziolo army began to file in. Yes, it was time to celebrate, but the stress of achieving a show worthy enough to praise Ziolo was paramount to everything else. Wookfest has the daunting responsibility of rejuvenating the family that Ziolo compiled through love, and he is a man renowned for his copious amounts of love, and generosity.
Bad Blood was the band to ignite the insanity, and they hammered out a critical pace setter for the night. Due to an unforeseen mishap, Ziolos close friends in Jungle Rot reluctantly were unable to play. Luckily, his good friends in Maggot Twat stepped up and filled the enormous slot on very short notice. Once the bar had been set by the Bad Blood crew, it was a parade of pain. The bands scorched the stage one right after the other, doing exactly what everyone had anticipated they’d do by leaving it all out there. Whut?, Speedfreak, Armored Assault, and Maggot Twat all continued to fester in agony with the loss of Ziolo, but they buried their distress and charred the audience with killer sets.
The final band to be summoned to the stage, was something very special. In addition to the love Ziolo had for the members of this band, he truly loved their music as well. After being on a music hiatus for years now, SKANK was ready to hit the stage again, and show praise to their brother.
In no way did SKANK appear to have not played together in years. They brought a powerful presence, and delivered a crushing set that bent people over, and did em dry! In no better terms, they left everyone’s buttholes smoldering, and quivering. One sentimental gesture the band made, was to invite Ziolos little brother, and Bad Blood guitarist, Nick Ayala to share the stage with them for a song. Nicks mother, Michelle gave some insight on that special moment.
“I was overwhelmed with nostalgia, and love. The SKANK boys were friends of mine since Nick was like 5. He really looked up to them, and it was at an all ages SKANK show that he met Wook. To see him join SKANK in honor of Jeff, was almost too much for my heart to handle. I was misty AF! LOL!”
The triumph of Wookfest 2018, was tremendous. The evolution of this yearly concert series is a beautiful thing, and it will continue to grow year, after year. The only goal for Wookfest, is to keep Ziolo alive in our hearts, as well as throw a party once a year that even he would be hung over from! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled, and your ears open for upcoming Wookfest news, and events. We’re only at the beginning of this adventure, and Wookfest will never die.
I would like to take a minute to thank the people at Reggies Rock Club. Wookfest 2018, would not have been possible without the hard work of Shane Merrill, Empire Productions, and the entire staff of Reggies. Most importantly, the owner of Reggies,Robby Glick made a heartfelt gesture at the end of the night. Robby had agreed on a greatly discounted price for the use of Reggies with the Wookfest crew. At the end of the night, Robby had decided to wave that price, and charge Wookfest zero dollars. Not only that, he decided to donate the amount originally agreed upon, to Wookfest. Thank you so much, we are forever indebted to you, and completely humbled by your unselfishness.
Wookfest 2018, was able to raise over 7,300 dollars! The support is a very emotional thing for all of us, and we just want to say thank you!
Lastly, I’ll end with some quotes from band members who played, and the President of Wookfest. Let’s see how they felt about the night!
“Hot! And happy! Great time sharing the stage with a bunch of great people, for a great cause!”
“After our set, I got a little choked up. I was just so proud of everyone that was involved to make it such an amazing tribute to Wook.”
“We all paid wonderful tribute to a great friend, and brother. Wookies legacy lives on in all of us!”
“I was amazed at how much I felt his presence in that room last night. Wish he could’ve been there with us, but that was the next best thing.”
“I felt so fucking accomplished. Since I first went to Reggies, in 2016, I dreamt about playing that venue and what better way to make it a reality, than to do it at Wookfest, for Wookie!”
“Overall….overcome with emotion, for a lot of reasons. First time playing in years with my best bro’s! The vibe at Reggies, the whole day, was just a great atmosphere. I’m not a very spiritual person, but I really felt like Jeff was there at Reggies with that big shit eating grin of his, totally loving every minute of it all!”
“Dude it was amazing! Great to see everyone, and the Wookfest crew did a tremendous job organizing.”
“Oh shit…….I played Wookfest?”
–Clay ‘Skunk’ Deilstein