Mental Health Music Festival | Concerts In Your Car | 5/20/21

Article Contributed by L. Paul Mann | Published on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Sound Mind Live presented its third annual Mental Health Music Festival on May 20th at the Ventura Fairgrounds. The show was part of the Concerts In Your Car series, which features live music for a drive-in audience. The four-hour show combined five live music sets with comedians, commentators, poets, and more. All participants united in spreading the message of Mental Health awareness which seemed especially relevant this year following the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020.

Ian Sweet | Ventura, CA

Music fans could enjoy the music from the safety of their cars or set up blankets and chairs in front of their vehicles. Patrons can bring in their own food and non-alcoholic beverages.  There are also food trucks and alcoholic beverages for purchase (beer and white claw).

Jilian Medford

The show kicked off with Jilian Medford, better known by her stage name Ian Sweet. The American indie rock musician from Los Angeles, California, played a short set with her longtime keyboard player. The early set had young music fans springing out of their cars early to dance in the late afternoon sunshine. A strong west wind blew off the ocean, causing the massive stage screens and speakers to sway in the wind, which somehow made the live performances are exhilarating. The short set was well-received, and Medford shared her own struggles with mental health like many artists. Between sets, live speakers, and video segments explained the mission of Sound Mind Live to spread the message of Mental Health awareness and the various services available.

Matthew Logan Vasquez

Indie rocker Matthew Logan Vasquez, best known as the lead singer/songwriter/guitarist of Indie rock group Delta Spirit took the stage next for a short acoustic set. The singer shared his excitement about finally playing to a live audience again after a year's hiatus. He explained that he had taken a long road trip with his wife and young son to attend the event. The singer played tunes from his three solo albums as the sunset painted the stage with an orange glow.

Lovelytheband | Ventura, CA

The Los Angeles Indie group Lovelytheband took the stage next, playing a full electric set, much to the delight of many young fans screaming their approval. Charismatic lead vocalist and guitarist Mitchy Collins ended the set with one of the most heartfelt speeches of the night, sharing his own struggles with suicidal thoughts. Then the band broke into their mega hit “Broken," which may have been the definitive song of the night regarding the theme of Mental Health and sharing the message for people to reach out for help.

Fitz and the Tantrums | Concerts In Your Car

Fitz and The Tantrums took the stage next as the late spring twilight faded to dark. The group played as a scaled-down foursome with Fitz, singer Noelle Scaggs, and the band's guitarist and keyboardist. The band had a distinctly different sound from their standard horn-drenched soulful set. The scaled-down group allowed Fitz and Noelle to showcase their vocal talents, reworking some of their well-known tunes. By the end of their set, they had fans clapping and singing along to the far edges of the car park.

Alex Gaskarth | All Time Low

Judging by the tumultuous screams from the audience as the headliners All Time Low took the stage, the band was why many young fans came out for the show. From Towson, Maryland, the band formed in 2003 and has released eight studio albums and two live albums. The group features lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Alex Gaskarth, lead guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist/backing vocalist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson. The band aptly took its name from lyrics in the song "Head on Collision" by New Found Glory. The high-energy group is one of many success stories that came out of the Vans Warped Tour, with the young rockers heading the tour in 2009. The band played a raucous hour set tempered only by the distanced crowd around their cars and the cold brisk wind off the ocean. Like all the performers of the night, lead singer Alex Gaskarth expressed the band's immense appreciation for being able to play a live performance after such a long hiatus.The Concerts In Your Car Series continues with upcoming shows, including Latin rockers War on May 29th, Hip Hop artists Nelly and Baby Bash on June 12th, Gin Blossoms on June 19th, and Vanilla Ice and Tag Team bringing old school Hip Hop on June 26th.

All Time Low | Ventura, California

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