A lineup that included some of Knoxville's most heralded local bands shared the stage for a good cause Saturday night at Rage Fest.
Opening up with the Chattanooga-based quartet Endelouz at 5 p.m., live music could be heard emanating from The Hill until the early hours of the morning. The $5 wristband bought audience members the chance to see Backup Planet, Ben & the Stoop Kids, Johnny Astro and the Big Bang, Smooth Operationz, O Youth, Swingbooty and Oroboro take the stage back to back.
"It's awesome to see so many bands playing under one roof," Jonathan Burkhalter, junior in history said. "The energy is great and everyone has performed really well musically. Johnny Astro was especially on point."
Jimmy Russell, a senior in psychology and one of the event's organizers, agreed that all the bands were terrific, but the performance by O Youth was most memorable to him.
"I thought the spectacle of O Youth's performance was fantastic," Russell said. "They were all about making sure the crowd was having the best time with balloons and fire. Their performance was the closest to a Flaming Lips show I've ever seen, and all that from a local band."
Audience members scored some free band memorabilia as well.
"Bands have handed out free CDs and there's a lot of great music to be heard," Sarah Johnson, freshman in microbiology, said. "I just love this environment and the fact that it's all for a charity is pretty awesome."
Proceeds of the evening went toward creating scholarships for children to attend The Camp Koinonia, an outdoor education program for people with disabilities, ages 7-22.
"It's a pretty amazing program," Russell said. "Ben Gaines is involved with it and really put this all together as a fundraiser."
After being introduced to the camp by his friend Jack Conley, Gaines, a senior in mechanical engineering, was inspired to conceptualize Rage Fest after his experiences working with an autistic boy with Down syndrome at the camp.
"He worked with this 16-year-old kid he called King Coby who had never been outside of his house before," Russell said. "It was the first time he really had any interaction with the outside world and he was terrified at first, but Ben helped him get out of his shell. I think that's incredible."
Beyond a fun night out seeing local bands play, Russell thought Rage Fest was a great way to make a real, concrete difference in the lives of kids like King Coby.
"The camp is pretty expensive to maintain and therefore pretty expensive to attend," he said. "We're providing scholarships so that kids who wouldn't have been able to afford it can go and have the time of their lives. It feels so good to help raise money for something that's so tangible."
Russell said that he and Gaines and colleague Zach Shupe plan on making philanthropic shows similar to Rage Fest a staple event in Knoxville's local music scene.
"Rage Fest was our first big event and despite the weather interfering a bit, it's gone pretty well," he said. "Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun. We're trying to do house shows pretty much every weekend for the rest of the semester."
A Halloween festival is also currently in the works.
"Right now we're planning to have a show at RT's on Friday and are currently working on a house location for Saturday night," Russell said. "We're going to make Halloween spectacular.
"It feels great to have found a way to combine the music, the parties and the philanthropy."