Reader Staff Writer
The evening of Wednesday, Aug. 9, marks a night of the Festival at Sandpoint focused on local talents in honor of Sandpoint legend Charley Packard, the singer-songwriter and beloved community member who died in February after a three-year battle with esophageal cancer.
The memorial show, dubbed the 7B Stars concert, is the brainchild of Packard’s partner Karen Bowers and his three children Jesse, Buck and Mason. Bowers mentioned the idea to Festival at Sandpoint Director Dyno Wahl, and while the original thought was not affiliated with the Festival, Wahl said she jumped at the chance to make it a part of this year’s events.
“I thought, ‘Why doesn’t the Festival embrace this?’” she said. “I love putting local talent on the stage, and it’s getting harder every year.”
Wahl said that in the many times Packard graced the Festival stage as an opening act, she recalls watching from the side of the stage in awe of his ability to draw people in.
“There are few people who can command the stage as a solo performer, and he could do that,” Wahl said. “He had a voice people listened to.”
Packard’s lasting impact on the people of Sandpoint goes beyond his music. Wahl said she always loved running into Packard due to his kind, caring nature.
“He was such a sweet person. When you ran into him, all your tension just kind of drained. He had a peaceful countenance about him,” she said.
This everlasting legacy of kindness and selflessness is reflected well in the 7B Stars concert, where every artist is offering their talents and time for free. Furthermore, regular festival volunteers will be working that night, which would normally be a night off during the Festival.
Beth Pederson said she will be performing with Brice Bishop at the memorial show and said she feels honored to be able to celebrate Packard.
“He was just such a huge part of our community for all those years, and he still is,” she said.
Every artist and band will cover at least one Packard song, Wahl said. Pederson said she and Bishop will play two: “Put Your Heart Away” and “Somewhere Stars Are Falling” — the second being a song she and Packard wrote together back in the early 2000s.
Wahl said operating procedure for the 7B Stars night is pretty similar to regular Festival nights, but with a couple exceptions. Chair rental will be free, and a small selection of the Festival’s regular food vendors will be open that night. There will be no sponsor seating. The gates open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Eve’s Leaves, Evans Brothers or Eichardt’s. All proceeds will benefit the Charley Packard Memorial Scholarship Fund, meant to financially assist students planning to pursue singer-songwriter ambitions.
“It’s not going to have anything to do with grades, because so many scholarships focus on academics,” she said. “It’s nice to have something that focuses on the creative side and recognizes that not everyone is cut from the same cloth.”
Wahl said the family is planning to give away the first of many scholarships next year. Please see the ad at the lower left of this page for a full list of participating musicians.