Lamp Fest benefits musicians and community

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In the incandescent glow of second-hand floor and table lamps strewn across the Gardner Center, students congregated to see performances by local musicians and help raise money for a non-profit corporation.

This is Lamp Fest: an assortment of lighting and good music for a good cause.

Ashley Graf, a senior integrated studies major from St. George and the creator of Lamp Fest, said she created the event for the students who might not be able to relate to other events on campus, as well as feeling the need for students to play more music.  

And the lamps?

“I just wanted to be eclectic and a little quirky,” Graf said. “I just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if there was just a truckload of lamps?’” 

Along with the namesake tradition of the festival, friendship bracelets have been a key element to Lamp Fest as well. The bracelets are given to students who make a monetary donation to the cause Lamp Fest has chosen to help. Graf said the bracelets were a way for people to show that they had attended and to make new friends.

The Lamp Fest on Friday was dedicated to seeking funds and volunteers for the Children of Hope Academy, a non-profit organization with unpaid volunteers that assists the mentally challenged. The academy is dependent on donations and volunteer hours to stay open.

Lamp Fest’s focus may be a charitable outreach, but it also benefits student musicians at Dixie State University.

“I would have had no idea how much talent there was if it weren’t for events like this,” said Chance Steglich, a senior psychology major from Hurricane. “It’s helped me see what’s out there and how many great musicians and how much great talent there is in St. George.”

Artists who have performed at Lamp Fest in the past have been found at Jazzy’s Rock’n Roll Grill, been suggested by other students or were friends of those who planned the event.

Steglich, who has performed at multiple Lamp Fests, proved he was no stranger to the stage with a rousing, squeaky clean version of “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green. He encouraged students who might be afraid to perform to consider Lamp Fest as a way to showcase their talent.

“This is the most incredible environment to perform in, the funnest audience you’ll perform for, ever,” Steglich said.

Student musicians who are interested in performing at Lamp Fest can contact student government.

Though Graf is graduating, she hopes that Lamp Fest continues on campus and has plans to bring it with her wherever she goes.

 “It’s something that I plan continuing with my own life,” Graf said. “I am going to take the Lamp Fest and hopefully do something big with it. What I see for Lamp Fest in the future is it being a big festival, I’m talking 10 or 15 years, and I can say, ‘Hey, this started at Dixie State.’ “