Poster Design by Andrew McGranahan

Musicians are three times as likely to suffer from mental illness; Be Well Fest challenges the stigma.

Be Well Fest is a massive undertaking by two San Diego heavyweights, Jakob McWhinney (Spooky Cigarette) and Danny Ellis (Splavender), to bring together the music community to benefit mental health wellness.

Mental health is a burgeoning issue within the music community. Every year, the music community, both as listeners and musicians, is greeted by the solemn recognition of someone’s passing due to mental illness. Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Scott Weiland, and Amy Winehouse are all tragic examples of mental illness’ devastating effects.

Beyond the scope of public view, however, lies an undeniably malignant issue, quietly tearing away at the members of every local music scene in the country. Everybody knows somebody with some form of mental illness, and if you don’t, you just don’t know it.

Jakob and Danny have put together one of the most impressive local lineups in recent memory, featuring the aquadolls, Splavender, Los Shadows, Matt Lamkin, and Billy Changer. Counter to the mainstream ethos of booking only bar bands, Jakob and Danny have crafted a lineup that speaks to a wide swath of San Diego’s (and LA’s) expansive music scene. They’ve carefully incorporated the old vets of the scene alongside newer, younger acts, hoping to bring together the disparate communities existing within their own cities.

Be Well Fest serves as a conduit for mental health support, with all proceeds being donated to the San Diego branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More than ever, it’s important that the resources necessary to help with mental illness are made available to those who need it, and that is what Be Well Fest sets out to do.

The festival is this Saturday, July 29, at Rancho Valhalla Nursery, located at 1998 E Chase Ave, El Cajon, California 92020. Tickets are just $15, and can be purchased here.

More information can be found here, and check out the Be Well Fest Playlist.

By: Brian Strauss