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The Red, White & UFEST
Music Festival Honors Local Heroes on Eve of 9/11

By Dave Cooper

Combining the spirit of two significant 10-year events that are united by coincidence, Phoenix-based Rock radio station 98 KUPD presents the Red, White & UFEST on 9/10/11 at Firebird Raceway in Chandler. As the anniversary of September 11th approaches, UFEST is an interactive concert event honoring local police, firefighters, first responders and active and veteran military personnel. UFEST is also a celebration of the decade-long milestone for KUPD’s morning show: Holmberg’s Morning Sickness (HMS). This cohesive, highly entertaining on-air team features John Holmberg, Brady Bogen, Eric O’Connell, and producer Dick Toledo.

HMS host John Holmberg is proud of this accomplishment, but he does express bittersweet sentiments about its timing saying, “The attacks of 9/11 happened when the Holmberg Morning Show was just hitting the ground.” So, rather than be melancholy by reflecting upon the horrific events of September 11, 2001, Holmberg modestly says, “We’d be remiss in not recognizing the other 10 year marker the very next day. I don't choose to remember the horror of that day. I want to look back at ten years and say that's the day I learned what heroes are. It changed me. This event is a salute to our heroes, Arizona First Responders.”

The “heroes” Holmberg refers to will be represented en masse at Saturday’s UFEST. More than 2000 members of this honored, patriotic fraternity will be attending as KUPD’s guests. “We've got a ton of tickets set aside for Military personnel (active duty and veterans), Firefighters and Police officers that want to attend. I call them Holmberg's Heroes. For those people, this show is on me,” he said. More information on how to get your free ticket, go to the Holmberg’s Heroes link on the KUPD website.

Featuring two outdoor stages, concertgoers at UFEST will be treated to a seemingly endless lineup of hard-hitting Metal and Rock talent from Arizona, plus other national touring acts. Kicking it all off at 3:00pm on the second stage is Back From Ashes. Others performing on the second stage are Boy Hits Car (4:05pm), Times of Grace (5:15pm), Digital Summer (6:25pm) and Jasta (7:35pm).

The Main Stage cranks up at 3:30pm with Black Veil Brides followed by Danko Jones at 4:40pm and My Darkest Days performing at 5:50pm. John Holmberg and several other prominent KUPD air staff members with address the audience at 7:00pm with special announcements recognizing and paying tribute to their special guests, Holmberg’s Heroes. At 8:15pm, Filter fires it back up with Anthrax following at 9:30pm. Headlining UFEST is Five Finger Death Punch from 11:00pm until Midnight.

UFEST is a general admission event with tickets costing $35 (plus service fees) available through the day of the show until 12 noon. Special 4-pack ticket deals can also be purchased. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for UFEST. VIP tickets feature a wide range of special privileges like free parking, event T-shirt and drink tickets. Meal tickets to Brady’s BBQ with Midwestern Meats from 5:00 until 7:00pm are also included. VIP ticket holders have exclusive gate entrance (no waiting in line) as well as limited access to some on-stage activities and shaded areas with tables and seating. Commemorative show laminates, a private bar and bathroom access are part of the VIP package. VIP tickets are available for all ages.

Jamey Jasta

If you’re traveling from out of town or would rather not drive home after the show, there’s another special accommodation for UFEST patrons. The package includes special room rates at the Radisson Chandler Hotel for $69 per night and includes shuttle service to the festival grounds.

UFEST is going to be a day of high-energy live music. It also recognizes the many brave and dedicated people who selflessly put themselves in harm’s way every day. Because of these “heroes,” we feel safe in our homes and protected from terrorism. We find comfort in knowing that their compassionate assistance can be found wherever it is most needed.

“On September 11, 2001 we all watched those first responders running toward the carnage as everyone was running away. For those who dedicate their lives to this public service, we salute you.,” said KUPD’s John Holmberg.

For more information about Red, White & UFEST and all its related events and activities, go to the KUPD website.