The Ziolo Way
Written by: Matt Drummond
As December creeps up on us, so does the six month anniversary of a lost legend. Regardless if it’s been 6 months, or 60 years, the pain in the metal community will always be there due to the loss of Jeffrey “Wookie” Ziolo.
One of the most beautiful aspects of the metal community, is it’s brotherhood. We, as metalheads, take our music seriously, and our friendships even more so. Jeff wasn’t the author of any guides to being a heavy metal fan, nor did he start the tradition, but he sure did represent it to the highest degree. Jeff was able to love at an unrealistic level. In times of doubt, or depression, Jeff almost seemed to just appear out of nowhere and put an arm around you, and it was an unparalleled, instant calming.
When you lose someone who you can’t live without, you begin to live your life for them. It’s about honor, integrity, and most importantly love.
After Jeff’s passing, there were quite a few Chicago metalheads looking at each other with bewilderment. Everyone knew something had to be done, but what? Luckily, Patrick Chidley grabbed the reigns and formulated an idea to let Jeff live on forever. His plan seemed almost obvious, you honor Jeff by bringing his insanely large group of friends, and family together for an annual party in his honor.
From tragedy came beauty, and it came in the form of Wookfest. It’s hard to pin down what all Wookfest is capable of, because it seems to grow on a daily basis. The original blueprint was basic, and the menu only consisted of two items: Crown Royal, and heavy metal.
I think everyone who knew Jeff, knew that Wookfest would round up a large attendance, but the inaugural concert shattered all expectations. It wasn’t just the turn out, it was the vibe throughout the venue. Everyone in attendance was on a mission, and the mission was to have a good time.
After being blown away in year one, Chidley saw nothing but potential. He gathered a handful of people who meant the world to Jeff, and the Wookfest board of directors was assembled. He then went on to officially make Wookfest a 501c3, non profit organization. What he was showing, was Jeff’s spirit. Why stop here, when it can be better? That mentality began to rub off on the board of directors, and the ideas began to erupt out of everyone.
This isn’t about ego’s, or whose ideas are better, it’s about Jeffrey “Wookie” Ziolo. Everyone has him in their hearts, and everyone wants to help out however they can, just like he always did.
As Wookfest continues to manifest itself, the ceiling for how high it can be taken is incalculable. The plans that are already in place for 2018s Wookfest, are mammoth, and we’re only getting started. Each Wookfest board member is there for a reason, and they all take their responsibility very seriously.
The intention is to continue growing, year, after year. We have zero intentions on relenting, and we’ll die before we give this up. That’s what Jeff would’ve done for each and every one of us, and there’s no chance of us letting him down. The pride we feel as his friends, will never waver, it will only grow stronger. So grab a shot of Crown, and join us in remembering a true one of a kind.
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All concerns, and suggestions are welcome. We were all his friends, and every single one of his friends opinions matter to us. Email us anytime at; firstname.lastname@example.org