Inaugural Benefactory Festival in Scranton honors Julie Judge
SCRANTON — A day of music designed to remember a friend has become a way to combat a growing problem in the arts culture of Northeastern Pennsylvania.
In honor of the late WFTE radio personality and supporter of local music, Julie Judge, Hectic Management and Promotions hosts the inaugural Benefactory Festival from noon to 1 a.m. Aug. 27 at the Irish Wolf Pub. The event features performances by 10 local artists, and all proceeds will benefit TEDxYouth@Scranton.
Judge was a close friend of Hectic Management owner Stephanie Hill and her husband, electronic musician Kenny Hill, aka Quoth.
Judge used her presence on WFTE, a politically minded, progressive community radio station, to advocate for local music. Her show, “The Benefactory,” featured music by area artists.
Kenny Hill’s friendship with Judge began in 1998 in New York City, before he began making original music.
“She talked me into moving to Pennsylvania,” Hill said. “She’s the reason why I’m here.”
After migrating to Scranton, Hill saw first hand the work Judge did to promote her hometown music scene, arranging benefit concerts for the radio station.
“She’d get bands she’d been playing (on the radio) to play at places like the Irish Wolf Pub and Diskin’s,” Hill said.
On Aug. 27, Brad Parks, The Gary Goblins, Jeremy Burke, Zayre Mountain, Adam Bailey, Mike Lambert, Pity Party, Quoth, TROgang and The Tellerz perform to celebrate Judge’s life and legacy.
Hill credits Judge with helping him come into his own musically. In his earliest stages, only Hill’s closest friends would hear his experimentation.
“Electronic music wasn’t her thing, but she still believed in the fact that I was doing it and that I wanted to continue to do it,” Hill said. “She was always like, ‘It’s really time you start making your own stuff.”
When Hill released his debut album in 2012, Judge dedicated an entire episode of “The Benefactory” to it.
“She was very behind artists locally, especially me as far as getting my music out there and achieving my goals,” Hill said. “And she did that for a lot of people.”
In light of Judge’s advocacy for the arts, the Hills decided to donate festival proceeds to a cause that helps develop youth arts programs.
Stephanie Hill said the money will be used to bring musicians in to lecture at the next TEDx conference on Sept. 9 at West Scranton High School and to develop community outreach programs for less fortunate children.
Before they were married, the Hills got so close to Judge they decided to have her preside over their wedding.
Then Judge fell ill.
She became afflicted with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal brain protein disorder known as a prion disease.
“It affects the brain and it affects it quickly,” Kenny Hill said. “She was lively at one point, and then things started getting bad and getting bad quick.”
When Judge was well, Kenny Hill said, she was adamant about presiding over the couple’s marriage.
“She was such a good friend to us,” he said.
The Hills got married on July 4, 2013, at the side of Judge’s hospital bed.
“We got married with Julie there, and she ended up passing three days later,” Kenny Hill said.
Hill, who will take the stage as Quoth for two performances on Aug. 27, plans to perform one set of his original music and one set of ’90s dance music and ’80s new wave, a favorite of Judge’s.
“I’m planning to do a special dedication to Julie before I go on,” Hill said. “A lot of my performances I dedicate to Julie Judge, so this is my biggest dedication to her.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or Twitter @TLArts
If you go:
What: Benefactory Festival
Where: Irish Wolf Pub, 503 Linden St., Scranton
When: Noon to 1 a.m. Aug. 27
Additional information: Tickets for the Benefactory Festival cost $10 in advance and $12 the day of the show and are available at www.ticketor.com/hmap. All tickets come with a wristband for unlimited re-entry to the festival throughout the day.