CreaturesFest Honors Mark Smith, Raises Awareness of Huntington’s
The First Annual CreaturesFest in memory of Mark Smith—lead singer of Lehigh Valley, Pa.-based band The Creatures of the Golden Dawn and advocate of the 1960s-inspired rock music genre known as “garage”—will be held 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday, July 21, 2012, at North Penn Gun Club, Trumbauersville, Pa. Proceeds will benefit the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. Smith died from Huntington’s-related complications at age 52 in 2011.
“A purpose of this premier event is to celebrate Mark’s life by featuring the music he loved. It’s also to raise awareness of Huntington’s Disease and to raise money for research,” says Scott Steinberg of Bethlehem, Pa., who is organizing the event with the help of a volunteer committee.
“Funding research is important because Huntington’s tears families apart,” adds Gregg Smith of Wescosville, Pa., committee member and Mark Smith’s brother, noting that their mother also succumbed to the disease.
New Jersey-based garage band The Insomniacs will headline. The event will also include live performances by the following bands, all of which feature at least one former member of The Creatures of the Golden Dawn: Consolidated Fuzz (Lehigh Valley-based garage); Strange Haze (New York City-based garage/psychedelia); House of Fire (Philadelphia area-based neo-psychedelia); and Wormwood Scrubs (Lehigh Valley-based garage infused with British invasion). Plus, other local musicians—Danielle Lubené (of The Danielle Lubené Band), Doug Ashby (of Tavern Tan) and Mike McMillan and Laurie Ann Hullinger (both of The SaddleTones)—will perform a musical tribute to Woody Guthrie, who died of Huntington’s Disease and whose 100th birthday is this year.
In addition, CreaturesFest will feature a display of Woody Guthrie’s life and lyrics. A silent auction will feature CD box sets, gift certificates and original artwork. A raffle will feature T-shirts and CDs and the recetly released Creatures of the Golden Dawn LP. Food and drink will be available for purchase from the onsite kitchen and bar.
A Lehigh Valley native, Mark Smith formed The Creatures of the Golden Dawn—formerly known as “The Creatures”—in the mid-1980s. Known for its monthly performances at The Funhouse, Bethlehem, the band also played venues in Philadelphia, New York City and as far away as Moscow. The band recorded several CDs of predominantly original songs, which are featured on Sirius/XM satellite radio’s “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” a show produced by Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. While the group endured many personnel changes over the years, Smith remained constant, continuing to sing, play harmonica, and write and record original music and lyrics until his death. Smith also hosted his own weekly “Exploding Plastic Inevitable” show on WLVR, 91.3 FM, the radio station of Lehigh University, Bethlehem. A limited-edition compilation LP titled “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground” was recently released on Los Angeles-based Dionysus Records.
Huntington’s Disease is a devastating, hereditary, degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure and only one FDA-approved treatment. Huntington’s Disease may affect cognitive ability and mobility; symptoms may include depression, mood swings, forgetfulness, involuntary movements—known as “chorea”—and lack of coordination. As the disease progresses, concentration and short-term memory diminish, and involuntary movements of the head, trunk and limbs increase. Walking, speaking and swallowing abilities deteriorate. Eventually the person becomes dependent for all care. Death can result from complications, such as choking, infection or heart failure.
Event admission is $20 per person at the door. North Penn Gun Club is at 2555 Tollgate Road, Trumbauersville, Pa., 18970
If you are interested in helping to sponsor this event, contact Scott Steinberg at