A tribute to the late musician Tom Petty was held in collaboration with the WiSH Education Foundation outside the Mann Biomedical Campus in Valencia Saturday night.
Performed as a part of the David Fernandez Songwriter Series, DFS3, the concert brought music fans and organizers alike to listen to several of Petty’s greatest hits. Songs throughout his career, with the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks or during his solo career were performed, including “I Need to Know,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “To Find a Friend.”
DFS3 began in 2007 under the leadership of the late David Fernandez, who “organized an intimate gathering of musician friends to experience the power of songs written by masters of the craft,” according to a news release for the event.
“This is the 20th tribute,” said WiSH’s Executive Director Amy Daniels, who runs the local education foundation that was the beneficiary of the event. She added that the band members decided on choosing Petty’s music as a way to memorialize him, following their efforts in recognizing recently deceased artists. Last year’s tribute, for example, was to David Bowie, who died in January 2016.
Petty died in October of last year.
The proceeds from the event, Daniels said, pay for programs and initiatives in the William S Hart Union High School District, as well as provide musical instruments donated by guests and sponsors.
Sponsors for the event included Jersey Mike’s, Andy Gump and Thrivent Financial. Guests could buy sandwiches, beer or wine, and could even bring their own food to their tables.
“I’ve been coming to these for 20 years, since they started in Dave Fernandez’s backyard,” said participant Lisa Kennedy, “and what they’ve done in the last 10 years is they started doing these bigger events and raising money for great causes, and so we like to support it.”
Kennedy, a teacher at Wiley Canyon Elementary, said the Newhall School District received similar financial support for its music programs through these tributes in recent years.
Daniels added that this was a sold-out event, and said she was grateful for the overwhelming response of the 500 participants helping WiSH and remembering Petty’s musical legacy.