NolanFest to be ‘celebration of everything that Nolan loved to do’

Jul 5, 2024

Event Date: 

Saturday, July 13, 2024 - 5:00pm to 9:00pm

MARION — A music festival at the beach held in the memory of a late Marion teenager is set to return.

The 4th annual NolanFest is Saturday, July 13 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Silvershell Beach. The fest is held in honor of Nolan Gibbons, who passed away at 15 in August 2020 due to sudden unexplained death in childhood, or SUDC.

Gibbons was a rising sophomore at Old Rochester Regional High School and an accomplished musical performer. He was a member of local youth singing troupe the Showstoppers and national acapella group “Acapop! KIDS.”  He had traveled the country and appeared on national television.

The event is hosted by the Nolan Gibbons Memorial Fund, which raises money to help young performing artists.

NolanFest will feature a program of performances, some from groups Gibbons had been a part of. Winners of scholarships and grants from the Nolan Gibbons Memorial Fund will also perform, according to Laura Carrillo, a board member for the fund.

“It’s a really fun opportunity to get some live music by the beach,” Carrillo said.

On the night of NolanFest, three songs by Gibbons will be premiered too, according to Carrillo.

While NolanFest’s first year in 2021 acted more as a memorial for Gibbons, it has morphed into a celebration of performing artists, according to Carrillo. 

“It’s really meant to be a celebration of everything that Nolan loved to do,” Carrillo said.

The festival at Silvershell Beach will have food trucks and arts and crafts activities. Other planned attractions include a tent where one can learn how to play the ukulele and a raffle, of which one of the prizes is a ride with the Marion Police Department’s comfort dog Norman, according to Carrillo.

The event also has volunteering, donation and sponsorship opportunities. NolanFest is free and open to the public. Tickets donations of $20 for adults and $10 for students are suggested but not required, according to the NolanFest website.

“We put this on with the help of a lot of business sponsors,” Carrillo said.

The evening of music and entertainment in remembrance of Gibbons closes with a fire dancing show in the dark on the beach, according to Carrillo.

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Event Date: 

Saturday, July 13, 2024 - 5:00pm to 9:00pm