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Celebrating the Life of Eddie Watkins

EddieFest: A Benefit and Memorial Concert to raise funds for suicide awareness and prevention.

By: Sheryl Bryant

This article is dedicated to the memory of Edward Powe Watkins, Jr. November 8, 1968 - April 24, 2016

I sincerely believe no article I write will be any more meaningful or more important than this one. I humbly ask all of my readers to attend and contribute to the cause for EddieFest 2017.

On April 24, 2016, Eddie Watkins took his own life. Unfortunately this was a defining moment in the life of Mr. Watkins, but it absolutely did not define the person Eddie was. Eddie was a long time musician, a talented drummer and was dedicated to making music in the Triangle area for most of his life. By all accounts, Eddie was a beloved son; a loving father; a caring brother; a loving husband and a good friend. He was well educated, having earned a masters degree in Information Science and Computer Technology from NCCU in Durham. He was a successful, creative and talented human being.

Eddie played in several bands over the years. He was an integral part of the Triangle music scene. He was a band member of Frosted Sugar Bombs, Dr. Powerful and most recently he was the drummer in the band Stranger in the Valley of the King. For years he played in alternative “math rock” group Polvo. Over the years, Polvo played with bands like Superchunk and even toured as openers for Sonic Youth.

For so long the subject of suicide has been taboo, seldom acknowledged, much less thoroughly discussed. For this and other reasons, raising awareness and dollars for programs devoted to the cause of prevention is vital to finding a solution. Educating people about suicide prevention programs and treating depression is crucial. If it is within our power to contribute to a means of bridging the gap for an individual who may be struggling to reach clarity, I think most of us would like to help.

Arising from the ashes of this personal tragedy rose a wonderful reunion between Eddie’s former wife and mother of Eddie’s children, Amy Overman and Eddie’s sister and stepfather, Adrienne and David Alden. Collectively, the three had a compelling urge to make a difference. Together with Eddie and Amy’s children, Ned and Lucie, an idea was conceived. Their goal and mission was to celebrate Eddie’s life by combining his love of music with a benefit to raise funds for the cause. The decision was made to honor Eddie by doing something positive and proactive in his memory.

EddieFest 2017 is an opportunity to shine light on a very dark topic.

EddieFest 2017 will take place at King’s Barcade in Raleigh on Sunday May 28th, 2017. The benefit runs from 12:00 Noon until. Kings generously opened their establishment and their hearts for the cause. The family hopes to turn the one day event into two and make it an annual fundraiser. The proceeds of this debut EddieFest will go to various organizations such as Hopeline of NC and Perfectly Afflicted, who also donated funds for EddieFest 2017.

You may know an individual(s) who may benefit from these caring organizations who have trained staff who will listen, advise and assist. The following is a list of websites that provide phone numbers and contacts for just a few of these agencies:

Hopeline of NC : www.Hopeline.org

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Perfectly Afflicted: www.perfectlyafflicted.com . Perfectly Afflicted is also an anti-bullying organization.

In many of my reviews that I write for local bands, I frequently end them with a statement to “Support Your Local Musicians”. Today I am asking you once again to support these local musicians and artists who are playing for this extremely worthy cause. There are lives in the balance.

Stranger in the Valley of the King
Yung Polvo (Ned Watkins)
Youth League
Knowne Ghost
Three Torches
Blue Green Gods

There will also be a silent art auction held at the event.

Eddie’s memory will live on through his music and his family. His son, Ned is already carrying on his legacy. Though I did not personally know Eddie, I dare say he would be the first to agree that there are larger voices calling us in this quest. They are telling us we can make a difference. I am just asking that you give them a listen. Come be a part of the solution. Be a part of EddieFest 2017.

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