“This next song I’d like to dedicate to Zach.”
These were the words of Gus Campbell, and the spirit of this evenings entire festival where Campbell and various other acts performed in memory of ASU grad Zach Booher.
Booher passed away last July after graduating from ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Art’s School of Film, in a car accident that took place while he and his band, While We’re Up, were touring with Warped Tour.
Z-fest, a free festival initially created to raise money for the Zach Booher Memorial Music Scholarship Endowment, began at noon today at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse and the surrounding plaza. The event featured booths, live music and a screening of Tim Burton’s “Big Fish,” Booher’s favorite movie.
The memorial scholarship created in Booher’s memory reached its minimum $25,000 funding as a perpetuity, or annually dispersed award, through other fundraisers and donations. As a result, Z-Fest instead evolved into a celebration of Booher’s life, according to his mother, Joanna Booher.
“After Zach’s death, many stepped forward with donations in his memory including musicians at Warped Tour,” Booher said.
Booher said she had the initial idea to screen Big Fish, but with the support of the film school and a community that wanted to honor Zach’s memory, the whole thing “just kind of grew bigger.”
Bands and artists who performed this evening were Ruby City, Johnny Mitchell, Carly Paige, Gus C, Run 2 Cover, Brian Weaver, Never Let This Go, A Careless Skyline, Liz Eric of Lost In Atlantis, and Booher’s former band-mate, Steven Mitchell Rouk.
Inside the Playhouse, the bands set up booths with merchandise for participants to browse through between live performances.
After the bands performed, there was a showing of While We’re Up’s music video for “Someday,” a video written and directed by Booher for his senior capstone project at ASU.
The screening of Zach’s favorite film brought the evening to an end.
Susan Mueller, the volunteer manager for Z-fest, coordinated the outside booths and entertainment that went on in the plaza.
These included performances from an ASU a capella group, ASU dancers and a disc jockey while festival goers indulged in free pizza, sandwiches, cupcakes, and even henna tattoos.
“Zach was totally energetic and hilarious, and always looking to have a good time,” Mueller said. “That’s the mood we wanted to set for everyone who came out.”
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