BANGOR – In the wake of Linkin Park’s singer, Chester Bennington, taking his own life earlier this month, many people across the country are filled with grief. A famous rock band is looking to end the epidemic, and provide hope along with their music.
For five years now, the Rise Above Music Festival has drawn thousands of rock fans and some a-list bands to the Bangor Waterfront.
“This is so far from where it was five years ago, so we’re heading in the right direction, and hopefully it’s making a difference,” said Dale Stewart, the bass guitarist for the band Seether.
And it’s not just music being transmitted to the crowds, but a powerful message. Ten years ago, the brother of Seether front man, Shaun Morgan, committed suicide. Morgan took his pain and channeled it to help others and honor his brother.
“We just wanted to take something tragic and turn it into something positive, and kind of give his name a legacy and keep his name alive,” said Morgan.
“We’re incredibly fortunate that Seether has taken this on as an initiative, because, as you heard the guys say, this is something that people don’t want to talk about,” said Dr. Dan Reidenberg, the executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (S.A.V.E.), “And if we don’t talk about it, we’re never going to be able to prevent it.”
But it’s not just Seether looking to make a difference, the Rise Above Music Festival is creating a chain reaction.
“Seeing how it’s grown and just seeing the support from the other bands that want to be involved and believe in the cause and believe in making a difference – it’s really cool and just humbling,” said Stewart.
According to S.A.V.E., 121 Americans take their own lives every day, that’s one every twelve minutes. Suicide has become the tenth leading cause of death in the country. The band partnered with S.A.V.E. To help as many people as they can know there is help.
“When you walk out of here, just realize suicide can touch anybody at time, anywhere, and it’s getting to a point now that suicide is within one or two degrees of separation from everybody,” said Morgan.
“More needs to be done with people in that, we need to reach out towards our communities a lot more because there’s a lot of people that gets passed by on it and it’s really sad,” said Crystal Miner, an attendee.
Concerts like these are getting people to speak openly about their past.
“i’ve been on the brink of it myself,” said Travis McCorisonm an attendee, “I am glad that i have the support system that I have.”
“You can listen to music to make you feel better or to release pent up energy and frustration,” said John Humphrey, the band’s drummer.
“I think at the end of the day we’ve managed to bring suicide awareness to the forefront because it’s something that no one really wants to talk about,” said Morgan, “It’s become an epidemic as we now know.”