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Lodi will rock to support veterans at Roc-Vemberfest

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Posted: Friday, November 10, 2017 5:44 pm

Lodi will rock in honor of veterans on Saturday. Idol Beer Works will host the city’s first Roc-Vemberfest, a music festival with proceeds benefiting Operation Restored Warrior.

“I’m excited, it’s all coming together,” said Korynn O’Connell, who is co-organizing the event with her father Kevin and Idol owner Grant Hamilton.

The O’Connells are both musical people. Korynn, a Tokay High graduate, has earned a reputation for her soulful vocals, and performs both her own original songs and covers under the name Korynn OC. Kevin O’Connell performs solo, with his daughter, or with his band K-Doh & The Doh-Nutz — and yes, they do bring doughnuts to many of their performances.

It was Kevin O’Connell who first came up with the idea of a music festival in Downtown Lodi, when he played at Idol Beer Works during a promotional event.

He and Hamilton brought Korynn on board and the trio worked out the details. When they realized the date they’d chosen fell on Veterans Day, Hamilton suggested turning it into a benefit.

“I remembered Kevin Knutson,” Kevin O’Connell said.

The two had worked together for more than two decades at Cottage Bakery, owned by Knutson’s family and managed by O’Connell.

Knutson, a former Marine from Lodi, is now the CEO of Operation Restored Warrior, an organization that helps veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injury and other mental health challenges. The organization offers programs like Drop Zone, which helps vets battling depression, anger, addiction and other challenges, and Freefall, a spiritually based program for active military members in combat zones.

Mentors — also veterans — help guide participants through finding a purpose and learning coping skills. While Operation Restored Warrior is Christian-based, it’s open to veterans of all religious faiths.

Along with raising funds for Operation Restored Warrior, the O’Connells have reached out to musicians who are also veterans. Vince West and Jerry Rice are two local veterans who will be performing at the concert.

Other performers are local bands, singer-songwriters and other artists who want to support local veterans.

“It will really be cool to see the art community come together,” Korynn said.

Painters will be creating art on-site during Roc-Vemberfest, and Kevin O’Connell — who is also a baking consultant known as the Naked Baker — will be making German-style pretzels for the event.

The musicians will perform on two stages, one indoors and one outdoors.

Roc-Vemberfest will also have a silent auction, with prizes like an artisan pizza party for six baked by Kevin O’Connell or a custom-written song by Korynn.

It’s a family friendly event, and kids and dogs are welcome.

If Roc-Vemberfest goes well, the O’Connells hope to repeat it next year as a larger festival. Kevin envisions a two-day event with several of the Downtown Lodi bars and tasting rooms serving as additional venues.

But first, they need to see how Saturday’s event turns out. They’re looking forward to a day of music and art in support of veterans, and are hoping a few hundred people will come to Idol Beer Works.

“It’s been like fate for me, how it all came together,” Kevin said.

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