Videographer David Jester strives to preserve Portland music films in 1st Jesterfest benefit

By Kane Taylor

Sunday, March 2, was the date for the first Benefit Festival for David Jack Jester, videographer extraordinaire.

David Jester (Photo by Kane Taylor)

David Jester
(Photo by Kane Taylor)

Located in The Odyssey Event Space, 521 N. Tillamook in Portland, the Fest started around noon and eventually extended until 2 a.m. The Odyssey Event Space is a huge multi-use facility with the accommodation and environment of a motion picture studio. Included are a ticket/box office window inside the entrance where patrons walk past a large stone ball in a square pond, with water bubbling from the top and flowing down over the surface. Many canvases of various kinds of artwork are mounted high on the walls, displaying them in their entirety. A crystal chandelier graces the high-ceiling entryway, with notices informing about upcoming concerts posted.

Dave Jester is in danger of losing his home and the effect of this looming disaster is exacerbated by two things: First of all, Jester’s serious health issues are sapping his strength and energy. Second is the threat to the life of Jester’s archived video collection. He has recorded videos of many, many area bands and other performing artists (check YouTube for some examples) and if his home goes away, so do these videos. It is hoped that he can retain his residence, of course, but in any case, it will cost around $200,000 to properly house and preserve this video material. He did take video footage of the many bands who performed this date and will offer a copy of them to those bands as his way of paying them back for performing at this event. The door charge was a modest $7.

The Mike Branch Band owned the stage when this writer entered and they alone could have carried the evening as well.

Carlee Smith also delighted the crowd. Many others also performed, too many to list here.

An unscheduled Elvis Sighting occurred this particular afternoon, with Elvis Nagel accompanied by his entourage and staff photographer. Many other notables and artists were also in attendance and the atmosphere was one of relaxed, companionable artistic and community intensity. Staff badges included the words “Music and Love.” Jester’s friends and family (both human and non-human) circulated about the hall, enjoying the music and sharing pizza and drinks.

Whenever another Jesterfest is scheduled, it will be a highly recommended “must-go” event for all. For those who recall the cozy, homey feeling of large private music festivals from generations past, it will be a gratifying experience. For the “new kids,” it is a great learning opportunity, so they know it is possible to hold such an event safely and with heart. Watch future issues of PE&D for the next Jesterfest.

Jesterfest is a great cause in another worldly venue, likely unique to the Portland scene. It’s an example of how “Keep Portland Weird” is actually a case of “Reality Works.”