It turns out there was more to Grayson Minney’s story than originally believed.
The lead singer of the popular local act Columbia Fields was killed a little over a month ago in an early morning crash. He was on the way home from a late shift at the Wood n’ Tap in Vernon when he apparently lost control of his car on Route 85 in Hebron.
What may not have been readily known was that Minney had been putting in extra work to help his family keep their home. Several years ago his mother was in an accident, and mounting bills brought the family’s home into foreclosure.
Grayson’s friends heard about the financial troubles shortly after his death, and decided to pour their energy into helping the family of their lost friend.
The Hug More Love More Festival is the result. Planned for July 20 at the Four Town Fairgrounds in Somers, the festival will feature at least 14 bands on two stages, food, merchandise, and more. The bill includes acts like Secondhand Serenade, Veronica Ballestrini, Kenny Mehler, and Rane.
“We’ve had overwhelming response about bands wanting to play, and everyone’s playing for free,” says Joe Lee, the former manager for Columbia Fields. “He was really into festivals, that’s why we’re doing it.”
Hug More Love More was a saying between Grayson and his father, who Lee describes with a chuckle as both ‘hippies’ and best friends.
“The Monday before [Grayson's] death we all went to a Red Sox game together, and that was really the first time i saw them together like that,” says Lee. “You could really tell they were best friends. They’d say ‘Hug more love more, son,’ ‘Hug more love more, dad.'”
The saying has become a mantra for friends of the Minney, who are trying to raise the tens of thousands of dollars needed to save the family’s home from a foreclosure auction this August.
Merchandise for sale at the festival includes a music and video booklet of Columbia Fields’ work, t-shirts, and bracelets inscribed with ‘Hug More Love More.’
The Hug More Love More festival goes from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at the Four Town Fairground in Somers. Tickets are $20.