“On this occasion in Savannah, we’re all Friends of Statts” reads the 11th annual Statts Fest press release.
The festival is still working as hard as it ever has after last year's celebration of a decade of community support benefiting local musician and artist Jason Statts, who was permanently paralyzed in 2008 during an attempted robbery in Savannah’s seemingly quiet and placid Ardsley Park neighborhood.
“We do this every year because there’s still a need, you know?” John Collenberger, one of the events’ main organizers, said. “Even though they have a budget, and allocate money for the whole year, they still wind up short and having to come out of pocket at the end of the year, so we try to help out as much as we can. Even though it’s kind of a drop in the bucket as far as medical expenses are concerned, every little bit we can help him out we try to.”
“Every year it's pretty incredible the number of people that come out and the amount of people that volunteer as well,” Collenberger continued. “The Savannah community comes together to give to someone who definitely needs it, it’s pretty incredible. We’re just blown away every time, so all we try to do is put on a good show in return and bring good stuff for people to come out for.”
This year's event will begin at The Rail Pub with a silent auction as well as live music before the party heads over to The Jinx at 8 p.m. for another selection of local musical offerings to include Bero Bero, Xuluprophet, Perpetual Care, and Dope KNife.
“We’ll have some great bands,” said Collenberger, “At The Rail we’ve got Joe Nelson, Damon and the $hitkickers, and Bottles and Cans. Then we go to The Jinx and we've got a pretty great lineup set up for that one too.”
Despite his condition, Statts remains committed to the arts and finds ways to be involved with the music scene. “I’m still writing music reviews about every other month for heavymusicheadquarters.com,” reported Statts via email. “Also, John Bennett from WRUU Savannah has a radio show called, “Here it is Tomorrow,” which airs every Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. that he was nice enough to ask me to submit a track for every week for the foreseeable future, which should be fun. So far, I've chosen tracks from the bands Spell, Dunbarrow and Monolord.”Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and Dine newsletters
Statts, who also said his physical condition has worsened due to the shifting of his spine, resulting in a complicated case of scoliosis, remains ever grateful for those who continue to support the cause.
“Please send my thanks to the organizers, volunteers, bands, bars, and community members who make it all happen, or who might be planning to attend. I appreciate the support more than I can put into words. I don’t know what I did to deserve all the help and attention, but I am immensely thankful for it. As usual, I am excited to see my friends and other familiar faces from around Savannah."
"I don’t get out very much, so this is my opportunity to catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while and I’m always excited to see the bands perform. I might even have a beer or two,” he added, I’d like to think with a smile, “I like to party.”