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UCalgary Strong Festival helps community overcome Brentwood tragedy

'The Ashley Hundred' performs at UCalgary Strong Festival. Jill Croteau

Sunday, April 15 marks a tragic time in Calgary history — it will mark four years since five young people lost their lives at an end of the year university party in the community of Brentwood.

The UCalgary Strong Festival was born out of that tragedy, and now a not-for-profit created by one of the grieving fathers has collaborated with them.

The music festival was started as a way for the student community to reconnect and honor the memories of Josh Hunter, Zackariah Rathwell, Jordan Segura, Kaiti Perras and Lawrence Hong.

MORE: Remembering the Brentwood Five

Performers involved in the Festival didn’t hesitate to get involved.

“I think it’s really simple, it could have been me,” musician Jory Kinjo said. “It could have been anybody, and so I identify with it and want to help them.”

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Josh Hunter. Family Supplied

The Prophets of Music Society‘ was created by Josh’s Father, Barclay.

READ MORE: Unbearable silence: Brentwood victim’s family misses their son and his music

“Four years later there’s a huge hole in our lives we can never fill that,” Barclay said. “But you pack things around it and do things that help move forward and this is one of those things.”

Zackariah Rathwell
Zackariah Rathwell. Family Supplied

Friend and former bandmate of Josh and Rathwell, Kyle Tenove, helped create the event which took place on Friday.

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“No matter what, that’s a moment in history in my life forever and that was the turning point to go headfirst into music,” he said. “We were playing music since we were kids, but now it’s like, ‘This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life.'”

‘The Ashley Hundred’ performs at UCalgary Strong Festival. Jill Croteau

The University’s vice-provost of student experience felt it’s important to honour the victims by creating an encouraging event.

“After the first year, we have focused on moving forward and celebrating together and it’s important to recognize loved ones lost, but it’s about a resiliency and strength in our community,” Susan Barker said.

READ MORE: ‘My Kaiti was amazing’: grieving mom remembers how Brentwood victim lived

It’s hoped the UCalgary Strong event with the collaboration of the Prophets of Music will continue for years to come.

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