Light of Day WinterFest 2023 music festival will be returning to Montclair on Friday, Jan. 20, for an Outpost in the Burbs event. The lineup will include Willie Nile, Guy Davis, Jill Hennessy, Jeffrey Gaines, James Maddock, Daniella Cotton, Williams Honor and more. The show, at First Congregational Church Montclair, 40 South Fullerton Ave., will start at 8 p.m. with doors opening at 7:15 p.m.
Light of Day started in 1998 when founder and music industry executive, Bob Benjamin, wanted to raise money for Parkinson’s Disease Foundation for his 40th birthday. A year earlier, Benjamin received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Instead of receiving gifts. Benjamin and his closest friends and family were able to provide a $2,000 donation to the foundation through the gift of music.
In 2000, Benjamin and his friends held the first official Light of Day festival. The name was inspired by friend and musician Bruce Springsteen’s 1993 record, “Light of Day.”
Since then, the festival has raised more than $5.75 million dollars for Parkinson’s and related diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and progressive supranuclear palsy. The festival, which started as a one-day event, now runs for 10 days at multiple sites in New York and New Jersey.
Not only has the Light of Day festival grown throughout the tri-state area but also globally. Canada, Europe and Australia have held festivals, donating a portion of the proceeds to Parkinson’s foundations in their area. Throughout the years the festival has received some big-name performers, including Springsteen and the actor Michael J. Fox, who received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 1991.
Light of Day Executive Director Tony Pallagrosi recalls an iconic performance from the third year of the festival.
“Michael J. Fox played in Light of Day three, he actually came down with his guitar, and played Light of Day onstage with Bruce Springsteen on the stage at the Stone Pony,” Pallagrosi said.
The “Songwriters in the Round” event that will take place in Montclair has tickets on sale now at lightofday.org.