WimBash Beach Festival

WimBash ’16 benefits West Haven youth music programs

WEST HAVEN, Aug. 14, 2016 — For the second year, area headbangers were treated to a benefit concert Saturday, Aug. 13, in Old Grove Park that showcased members of Grammy-winning band Living Colour, the Billy Joel Band and other titans of rock ’n’ roll.

The star-studded WimBash Beach Festival, presented by Living Colour bassist Doug Wimbish and Nova Sound Studios, spotlighted the musical chops of Mark Rivera’s ’67 Chevy, which performed a “tribute to the kings of rock ’n’ soul music.”

The supergroup did not disappoint the all-ages crowd, cranking out such hits as Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality,” the best-known song from the New York City band’s 1988 debut album, “Vivid.”

Once again, the festival raised several thousand dollars for the school district’s music program. Money also went to a music program at the West Haven Community House, organizers said.

The event was also presented by Mayor Edward M. O’Brien and the city in concert with The Rock House School of Music and Z’s Corner Cafe.

The sponsors were Yale University, Acorn Investors, DTC Engineering & Consulting, Luchs Consulting Engineers/DeCarlo & Doll Inc., Webster Bank, University of New Haven, West Haven Rotary Club, AFSCME Local 681, CWA Local 1103, Duffy’s Tavern, West Haven Funeral Home and WPLR.

As concertgoers imbibed nectar of the gods in the tented beer garden and munched on goodies from the convoy of locally owned food and dessert trucks on Palace Street, Rivera’s ’67 Chevy played a fist-pumping selection of melodic rockers and a treasure-trove of funky nuggets.

Anchored by Rivera, Billy Joel’s longtime saxophonist, the passel of rock royalty featured Wimbish, Living Colour frontman Corey Glover, guitarist-producer Marc Ribler, Average White Band drummer Rocky Bryant and keyboardist-composer Clifford Carter.

The all-star band was accompanied by special guests Heather Joseph, the powerhouse vocalist of Chemical Z, and Kyle Ward, a guitar wizard from the Berklee College of Music.

During the one-hour set, Joseph shined on “Gimme Shelter,” a 1969 gem by The Rolling Stones, and traded vocal licks with Glover.

This year’s festival setup was headlined by two stages — the Beach Stage, beside the boardwalk activities building, and the Mayor’s Stage, inside the Palace Street beer garden — along with a misting fan where spectators were able to beat the 100-degree heat.

Rivera’s ’67 Chevy was preceded by an eclectic lineup that included performances by Chemical Z, Unlocking the Truth and Tears Fall Down with the E.S. Choral Group, as well as James Mauri 4, Fools Faith and Abby and the Roadsters.

After welcoming remarks from O’Brien, The Pop Rocks and Peter Lucibelli kick-started the nearly nine-hour festival.

DJ Markie Gee spinned mashups of popular music between acts, and O’Brien presented official citations to Unlocking the Truth, a teen metal band from Brooklyn, New York, which has opened for rock monsters Guns N’ Roses, Motorhead, Queens of the Stone Age, Living Colour and Marilyn Manson.

The citations were bestowed on guitarist-vocalist Malcolm Brickhouse, drummer Jarad Dawkins and bassist Alec Atkins for “Excellence in Community Service and Leadership in Mentoring Young People in the Music Industry.”

O’Brien also gave citations to the trio’s parents and Wimbish and his wife-manager, Diane Nilsson, for supporting their sons’ musical aspirations and contributing to the civic and cultural life of West Haven, respectively.

Organizers said all event proceeds, such as beer, merchandise and raffle sales, benefited the school and Community House music programs.

The WimBash Music Festival Series, a charity founded by Wimbish that includes the festival and related fundraising events, has collected $10,000 to date, excluding this year’s total, for West Haven music education.

The Hartford native organized West Haven’s first WimBash Beach Festival last August and donated the $7,000 proceeds to the music program, which paid for new instruments at Carrigan Intermediate School.

— MICHAEL P. WALSH, Public Relations Information Coordinator


View scenes from WimBash ’16.