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Art 180 Celebrates Ten Years of Jonny Z Fest

At Hardywood Park Craft Brewery on Sunday, family and friends of the now-legendary Jonathan Zanin, as well as many eager concert goers, gathered to celebrate his life at the 10th annual Jonny Z Fest.

Zanin, known as “Jonny Z” to friends, unexpectedly passed away in 2007. Drummer for multiple Richmond bands (including DIY hardcore band Tigershark), Zanin was a local artist and activist involved in organizations like Food Not Bombs.

He was perhaps best known for organizing the Bizarre Market, an event where local artists could sell their wares. The market formerly operated out of the now-defunct Nonesuch Art and Apparel, and currently lives on as a part of Jonny Z Fest.

Art 180 has organized the fest for the past ten years, an effort begun by Michael Guedri, Atlas program director and friend of Zanin.

The festival included kid-friendly activities such as a moonbounce and facepainting, as well as the Bizarre Market, a hourly raffle of prizes provided by local shops, and plenty of local bands–a block party worthy of Zanin’s legacy.

Sick Bags kicked off the event with a burst of riffs and attitude. Channelling sneering ’70s punk and early rock ‘n roll, the five-piece packed a serious punch of catchy melodies, not to mention a lead singer with a serious growl.

Gull appeared next, playing a mix of mind-bending old songs, and, well, equally mind-bending new songs. After having played a few sets sans his signature mic’d mask (and with a serious leg injury at that), Jonny Z Fest was a return to form. The artist’s newest LP was released earlier this year.

Big No took the stage after with characteristic energy. The “freeze pop” band, fronted by Nathan Grice, still brings a little of the Bay Area sound to Richmond, even a few years after the musician settled here in 2013.

A performance from country/folk band Josh Small and the Easy Company was also on the docket, playing a bluesy set of songs. Small, a member of Tim Barry’s band as well as Big No, showed his songwriting chops with rootsy riffs and wistful lyrics.

A serious change of tone was next: Municipal Waste. Playing a mix of old and new songs, frontman Tony Foresta related a story about Zanin. When the band was just beginning to write and practice songs, Zanin, after overhearing their song “Beer Pressure,” told them “[they] really had something, not even fucking around.”

Then, of course, at breakneck speed, Waste blew right into the song.

Check out pictures from the event by Joey Wharton Photography below:

Sick Bags


Big No

Josh Small and the Easy Company

Municipal Waste