Nez Fest goes ahead in modified form after bars shut down


Just one day after receiving word that bars would once again be shut down because of a spike in the number positive coronavirus cases, organizers of the recent Nez Fest 2020 made the decision to go ahead with their music-based fundraiser at Walking Tree Brewery – albeit with a few changes.

The event was started last year in memory of Jason Nesbit, a talented and respected singer, songwriter and guitarist who was born and raised in Vero Beach, where he played with the Old Barber Bridge Band. Nesbit passed away at just 46-years-old while living in St. Louis.

Armed with a permit from the city for curbside pickup and plenty of room for people to gather outdoors, an enthusiastic assemblage of local musicians and bands put the word out that the fundraiser to benefit Kids Rock Cancer was a go.

Folks brought their own blankets and beach chairs to hunker down while enjoying the music and camaraderie as the bands played from the elevated porch stage.

Organizers scheduled playing times throughout the evening, with music provided by Matt Manning, followed by Eric Hall and Frank Nesbit, the Joint Chiefs, Souljam, the Leftovers and the Old Barber Bridge & Friends.

“He was in the Old Barber Bridge Band in Vero for years; he actually helped start it. They named it after the old Barber Bridge; the drawbridge,” said his sister, Amy Dunn. “Today is actually his birthday; he would have been 48.”

“They moved to St. Louis three years before he got sick,” said his mother, Linda Gonzalez. “He was in school, studying to be a music therapist. In December he was not feeling well so he went to the doctor and they diagnosed him with colon cancer. He lasted just nine months. He passed away October 26, 2018.”

Dunn, who said they plan to make this an annual affair, shared that his wife, Jen Nesbit comes into town every summer to attend the event with their young children, Austin Nesbit and Jordan Nesbit.

The St. Louis-based Kids Rock Cancer nonprofit uses music therapy to help pediatric cancer patients to cope with “anxiety, depression, uncertainty and helplessness.”

Photos by Mary Schenkel

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