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WesFest 7 Headliner Announcement, Scholarship Winner & Fundraising Launch!

We are super excited to announce that the WesFest 7 benefit concert will take place on Sunday, 3/4/12, at The Roxy in Los Angeles…and our headliner is the instrumental rock/fusion power trio The Aristocrats, featuring guitarist Guthrie Govan, bassist Bryan Beller, and drummer Marco Minnemann! The lineup also features Mike Keneally, The Casualties Of Jazz, Jackie Daum, Joe Brooks, and Colin Keenan.

As always, WesFest 7 also features Danny Mo & The Exciters, featuring the 2011 Wehmiller Scholarship Winner Hayley Jane Batt! Click here to read Danny Mo’s take on Hayley. She’s a lucky gal, because she’ll be grooving with none other than the legendary John “JR” Robinson on drums!

This is all made possible by your generous donations, and this announcement also marks the official beginning of the WesFest 7 fundraising launch. Our goal is to raise another $20,000 for the fund this year, and you don’t have to wait until March to donate – you can do so right now by clicking here and selecting “additional non-ticket donation.” There’s plenty of time left in 2011 to get a tax-deductible contribution in before the end of the year.

We’re also proud to have the support of the following sponsors for WesFest 7: Gallien-Krueger Amplification, Mike Lull Custom Basses, D’Addario Strings, and DW Drums.

For complete info on WesFest 7, just click here. Hope to see you at the show!

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New WesFest 6 Gallery!

Check it out, just posted!  Thanks to super-photogs John Wehmiller, Paul Rose, Ron Lyon and Michele McManmon for their contributions!

Click here for the gallery!
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WesFest 6 Raises Over $20K!

The numbers are in and we did it! WesFest 6 raised just over $20,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship fund at Berklee College of Music.   Here’s the latest press release:

6th annual event continues tradition of musical excellence
and fundraising success

BOSTON (March 24, 2010) — WesFest 6, the sixth annual WesFest benefit concert, took place at The Roxy in Los Angeles on February 27, 2011. For the third consecutive year, the event and related fundraising drive raised more than $20,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship Fund at Berklee College of Music. The total amount generated by WesFest since its inception in 2006 has now exceeded $90,000, and is projected to top $100,000 in 2012.

Officially supported this year by corporate sponsors Mike Lull Custom Basses and D’Addario, the WesFest concert series has established the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship as one of the leading awards given by Berklee College Of Music. Established by Wes’ family and friends in 2005, the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series serves as the centerpiece for a continuing fundraising drive for the scholarship fund, which honors the legacy of Wehmiller, a Berklee graduate (‘92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in January, 2005.

The WesFest 6 concert was headlined by fusion supergroup PSP, comprised of drummer Simon Phillips, keyboardist Philippe Saisse, and bassist Pino Palladino. The show marked PSP’s live Southern California debut. It also brought a special energy to the event, as Palladino was often cited by Wehmiller himself as his most important musical influence. “For those of us who really knew Wes and loved his extremely fluid, soulful playing style,” remarked WesFest co-producer Bryan Beller, “it was like going straight to the energy source. We all stood in awe watching Pino do his thing, and the whole WesFest community got a much deeper appreciation for why Wes’ playing was so special.” Peter Gordon, Director of The Berklee Center in Los Angeles, agreed. “With economic challenges all around us, it’s truly impressive that WesFest continues to succeed each year. Having Pino onstage to close the concert was especially poignant and left a very real sense that Wes was ‘in the house.’”

In a long-standing WesFest concert tradition, the 2010 Wehmiller Scholarship winner performed at WesFest 6. Bassist Joshua Tyson of East Orange, NJ brought a deep sense of groove to the show, anchoring a band of mostly Berklee graduates led by Wehmiller’s Berklee Bass Professor and close friend Danny Morris. Morris is instrumental in selecting the scholarship winner, and leads a separate annual concert event in Boston to grow further awareness of the scholarship among the Berklee student body.

“One of the great pleasures in preparing for WesFest each year is the rehearsal the day prior,” says Morris. “It’s there that I truly witness the musicianship and personality of the scholarship recipient. Joshua Tyson understands ebb and flow, how to take the listener on a musical journey, and his set ending solo gave the audience a taste of his groove, originality, soul, and rhythmic beauty.”

Other performers at WesFest 6 included many musicians who knew and worked with Wes during his twelve years in Los Angeles: The Rick Musallam Group (a debut performance by one of Wes’ close friends), Gryphon Labs (led by Zappa Plays Zappa bassist Pete Griffin), and WesFest veterans Tamara Silvera, Ali Handal, and Colin Keenan.

WesFest co-producer Stacey Ferguson affirmed the event’s impact. “As we continue to honor Wes through this scholarship, seeing the family of recipients grow and find success makes it undeniable that this is making a big difference in these students’ lives. We’re extremely grateful for the support we’ve received through the years from the performers, donors, and attendees of WesFest.”

All WesFest related merchandise – which includes two concert DVDs, the I, Claudius CD Bleed: The Wes Demos, and Wicked: Music From The WesFest Community – are available for purchase at, with net proceeds also going to benefit the fund. For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller, WesFest, and all related merchandise, please visit the official Tribute To Wes Wehmiller Website at For more information on the scholarship, or to find out how to contribute to the fund, please contact Peter Gordon, Director of the Berklee Center in Los Angeles, at (818) 380-3041, or by e-mail at

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry “who’s who” of alumni, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.

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WesFest 6 is finally here! We’re excited and honored to have Pino Palladino (Wes’ favorite bassist), Philippe Saisse and Simon Phillips–together as PSP–as our headliners this year. Gryphon Labs, Rick Musallam Group (RMG), Tamara Silvera, Ali Handal, Colin Keenan, Bryan Beller and a handful of other ridiculously talented musicians will fill tonight with some of the best music you’ll ever hear live, so come on out! Tickets will be sold at the door starting at 6:30pm, Doors open at 7:00pm, and this amazing show starts at 7:30pm. We need your help in reaching our goal of $21,000 for the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship, so even if you can’t come to the show, you can still support music education by donating at THIS LINK

Hope to see you tonight!!

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Happy Holidays!

From the Wehmiller family and all of the WesFest team, we wish you the happiest of holidays and best wishes for the New Year!!

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New Tribute by Tom Cottle

In the Fall of 2007 a friend of the Wehmillers wrote this beautiful, very personal story that was dedicated to Wes and published in the Antioch Review.  We have been given permission to share this story and we hope it inspires you!

Owl Story by Thomas J. Cottle

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Welcome to the brand new tribute website to Wes Wehmiller: Professional bassist, prolific songwriter, avid cyclist, insightful photographer, highly skilled hockey player…and a lover of people and all living things, a good friend, a loving brother, and a wonderful son to his loving parents. This is also the online home of WesFest, the benefit concert series and annual fundraising drive to benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music.

The Wes tribute website was originally created in 2005 so that Wes’ close friends and family could share the memories of Wes, an amazing human being who, while taken from us so young, put so much out there for us to remember that a website can hardly do it all justice. Since then, the annual WesFest gatherings in Los Angeles have created a new, growing, vibrant community that’s raised over $80,000 for the Wehmiller scholarship fund. We felt that it was only right to redesign the website from the ground up, so as to reflect both the incredible life of Wes, and the ever-expanding WesFest community.

It’s our hope that, through the text, pictures, audio and video found within the site, you’ll grow to know and appreciate Wes as we do. Let us know what you think of the redesign, and stay tuned for plenty of content updates, including news about the next WesFest concert event, WesFest 6!

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The 2010 Scholarship Winner is…

Joshua Tyson!

Says Berklee Bass Professor Danny Morris, “Joshua Tyson has a gift. Wes Wehmiller had a similar gift. The gift I’m speaking of is a talent, a groove, and a musicianship skill set enabling the bass player a keen sense for playing what works to compliment the groove of the song. This bassist knows when and when not to sound. This bassist knows when and when not to lead. This gift has as much to do with the dynamics of conversation as it does with technical prowess. Of course, the gifted bassist has all things in balance. This is what best describes the 2010 Wes Wehmiller Scholarship recipient Joshua Tyson. I am so excited to perform again with Joshua in LA next February at Wesfest 6. We had a blast at Danny Mo’s Family Reunion this past March in Boston where Joshua tore the house down within his first 3 notes. It takes a special gift to entertain, to entrain the listener into a zone of comfort and intrigue. Each year the scholarship recipients and their bands continue to shine and embrace what Wes Wehmiller was all about. In a nutshell, it was about aesthetic. The beauty that comes with art at it’s highest level during live performance. This is a milieu where everyone is at home, at peace and content to listen and praise the spirit of music and harmony. See you next February in LA and next March in Boston when we do it all over again.

With groove and health, Danny Mo.”

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