Founder, coordinator sees benefit show into its 9th year
By Scott Weybrightsweybright@patuxent.com
The benefit concert "Iampsfest" has become such an institution on Edmondson Avenue near the Baltimore City line that those living nearby are accustomed to one day of loud music.
That wasn't always the case.
"In the beginning, there (were) a few angry neighbors," said Steve Iampieri, founder and coordinator of the annual event which began in 2000. "But they learned to cooperate and realized what a good cause it was."
He said he gives nearby residents plenty of warning and puts them on a guest list to get in free.
The ninth all-day concert will be held Saturday, June 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The 12 bands will perform throughout the day in an open field across the street from Iampieri's Westway Lounge and Bar at 5320 Edmondson Ave., which Iampieri's family has owned since 1950.
Iampieri, 38, started the concert in 2000 to benefit Mosaic Community Services, then known as ReVisions Behavioral Health Systems.
Today, proceeds from the event go to two separate college scholarship funds, one in memory of Iampieri's friend Bill Chupka Jr. and the other in memory of his sister, Michele "Mickie" Iampieri.
This year, three Catonsville High School graduates each received a $1,000 scholarship to attend the Community College of Baltimore County-Catonsville from the William Chupka Jr. Scholarship Fund.
Chupka committed suicide in 1999 and Iampieri, a Catonsville resident, started the concert to raise awareness for depression and suicide prevention.
Chupka was a student at CCBC, so Iampieri said Chupka's family wanted to help other Catonsville students planning to attend the college.
The fund has given out $15,000 in scholarships to Catonsville High School students over the years, Iampieri said.
The other scholarship goes to an incoming student at Philadelphia University, formerly known as the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, where Mickie Iampieri planned to study fashion design.
Mickie Iampieri, then a senior at Mt. Hebron High School in Howard County, died in a traffic accident in February 2006.
But for Steve Iampieri, the concert isn't about the loss of family and friends.
"It's a celebration of life and we try to tell people to live your life to the fullest, not knowing when somebody's going to be taken," Iampieri said.
The concert mixes 12 national and regional acts throughout the day.
Tickets for the event cost $14 in advance and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the family bar.
Tickets cost $20 at the gate.
Iampieri said the event, plus a bull and oyster roast hosted each year by Bill Chupka Sr., has raised over $20,000 in nine years.