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Afterglow music festival returning to St. Albans after pandemic hiatus

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Posted: Sep 17, 2021| Categories: Uncategorized

Segment seen on WPTZ – NBC Channel 5 news last night and on their digital platforms.

Steve Broer, Tony Stevens, and Lance Metayer were present to share information about suicide prevention, awareness and NCSS services.  Lance spoke about how the event helps to bring people together in an effort to destigmatize the topic of suicide.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This report contains references to suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available by calling 800-273-8255 or by texting “HOME” to 741741, which will connect you with a trained counselor.

Following a yearlong absence prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Afterglow music festival will return to St. Albans on Saturday.

The event was started in 2019 by the parents of AJ Holzscheiter, who died by suicide at 18 years old. It is now hosted annually on his birthday weekend — complete with music, food and activities.

“I think his legacy is a good reason we continue to do it,” said Andrea Wells, Holzscheiter’s mother.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to suicide prevention organizations, along with the St. Alban’s Recreation Department they said Holzscheiter enjoyed while growing up in the area.

“It’s doing something that will keep his memory alive and take his life, what happened to us, and try to make something good of it,” said John Holzscheiter, AJ’s father.

In an effort to help other families experiencing the same type of loss, this year’s festival will be dedicated to Avery Vaillancourt, an Enosburg native. The 19-year-old artist, environmentalist, and social advocate died by suicide last year.

Both young Vermonters would have celebrated their 21st birthday during the coming week.

“It’s an unfortunate bond that we have. It’s a club that none of us want to be in, but this kind of loss is very isolating,” said Avery’s mother, Judy Vaillancourt.

Vaillancourt said the Afterglow foundation has helped her grapple with the loss they all now share. For the family of AJ Holzscheiter, they describe building that type of community support as essential.

“Anyone that has lost someone to suicide, we welcome them to Afterglow to be a part of what we’re doing,” said John Holzscheiter.

Northwest Counseling and Support Services, which operates out of St. Albans, said the family is also helping de-stigmatize the conversation around suicide.

“It brings this conversation to everyone in our community, so by being a part of the music festival you’re actually being a part of suicide prevention and intervention,” a spokesperson for the group said.

Tickets can be purchased at Hard’Ack recreational park in St. Albans the day of the event on Saturday, Sept. 18, or through an online portal.

Link to segment:


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