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UPDATED: Summer Meltdown concert packs Golden Valley amphitheater

Trapt, Stephen Perkins bring world-class rock to Santa Clarita

Posted: April 15, 2009 3:23 p.m.
Updated: July 16, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Pete, Aaron, Chris and Robb (sitting in for Simon) of Trapt preview tunes from their imminent third album, "Only Through the Pain," as headliners at Summer Meltdown 2008.

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The fifth annual marathon "Summer Meltdown Autism Awareness and Social Inclusion Concert" rock festival, produced by students, mentors and advisors in the William S. Hart Union High School District's Yes I Can program, drew a capacity crowd at the outdoor amphitheater at Golden Valley High School Saturday.

Bret Lieberman, Yes I Can program director at Golden Valley and the man behind the Meltdown, said more than 1,500 mostly high-school and college-age music fans attended the event, more than any of the previous four.

"This Summer Meltdown was the biggest and best yet, according to all the Yes I Can students, and many of the guests agreed," Lieberman said a few days later. "The kids cannot stop talking about it."

Nearly a dozen bands took the stage between 2:30 and 11 Saturday afternoon and evening. Headliner Trapt, playing favorites from the rock quartet's first two albums and previewing songs from their upcoming "Only Through the Pain" album, drew the event's biggest crowd and loudest response.

A close second was Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, whose 10-minute drum solo was unrelentingly powerful, and followed by a 10-minute drum-off featuring skin-slammers from several other bands on the bill as well as Yes I Can kids, all pounding out rhythms on various percussion instruments donated by co-sponsors Remo and DW for the occasion.

Also turning in well-received sets were The Craze, Guilt by Association, Conjob, un:armed, Mission Black, Cry Havoc, Surface Rising, Maxwell Smart, and Renfue.

"People couldn't believe guys as big as Trapt and Stephen Perkins were playing a high school in the Santa Clarita Valley," Lieberman remarked. He added that both artists, as well as the entire lineup, are very supportive of the Yes I Can program, which has made a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of special-needs students, most of whom are diagnosed with a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome, which deeply inhibits communication and social skills.

More than half a dozen members of Golden Valley High's video production class documented the show for its GVTV news programming, using three cameras including one on a boom in front of the stage.

Admission was $10 in advance and $20 at the door for the entire concert. Lieberman said this year's Meltdown brought in enough from ticket sales, advance fundraisers and donations to cover the $20,000 budget, which included professional sound and lighting systems that upped the quality-of-production ante considerably over previous years.

"We raised $14,000 on food nights and events at MB2 Raceway, Mountasia, Islands, Thai Pepper and Margarita's and the Egg Plantation, and food days at school," he said. "We had a $3,000 donation from the city of Santa Clarita, and another $2,000 in cash donations. Add to that the proceeds from ticket and food sales, which we're still tallying up, and we'll have enough for a good head start on next year's concert."

Lieberman said this year, the students achieved all their goals, and then some, and afterward found fewer things they thought needed improvement. "Last year, we were like, ‘We need to change this, we need to change that.' This time, it was more like, ‘That worked really well,' or, ‘We enjoyed that,' or ‘We need to clean that up a little.' Creatively, financially and in terms of boosting the kids' self-esteem and community awareness about autism, it was extremely successful."

The Yes I Can students have pointed to many different reasons they think 2008's Summer Meltdown was the biggest. "They think The Signal's support is the No. 1 reason," Lieberman said.

The Signal was top media sponsor and one of more than two dozen local sponsors supporting this year's event.

"We want to thank all of our sponsors, especially The Signal, for sponsoring and supporting the Yes I Can program this year," Lieberman said. "With all the press, the MB2 Raceway Summer Meltdown Ultimate Giveaway contest on The Signal's Web site, we know The Signal helped us reach our attendance goal. The Signal has supported the Yes I Can program for the last five years, and we're looking forward to continuing to work together, and watching this event get bigger each year."

For complete Summer Meltdown show info, visit www.summermeltdown2008.com.

For more info about the Yes I Can program, contact Lieberman at (661) 298-8140 ext. 1414.

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