Jo Ann and Jeff recognized for “Leading the Way” at EDMbiz

June 23, 2014

An entire weekend of panels, presentations, and parties on electronic dance music will certainly get your blood pumping. But we’ve got a very special reason to be excited about Insomniac Event’s recent EDMbiz Conference Expo.

Congratulations to our co-founders Jo Ann Thrailkill and Jeff Castelaz for being honored with the third annual Leading the Way Award, which recognizes creative philanthropy in the entertainment industry.

Insomniac COO Simon Rust Lamb presented the award – previously endowed to music megaweights Burning Man and Coachella – in Las Vegas last week. Here’s Insomniac’s take:

Tragically, and like too many others, Pablo did not survive. But his legacy did, and the eponymous Pablove Foundation lives on, fueling innovative research in a field desperately lacking in both funding and awareness.

That specific focus makes Pablove somewhat unique in the landscape of cancer research organizations, but some additional aspects really put it on the map: First of all, they don’t just raise big money; they seed grants for young researchers with bleeding-edge ideas, providing a needed proving ground for larger federal funding. It’s a smart way to make their research dollars go further. Secondly, they provide education, resources and a community for families who may otherwise find themselves lost and overwhelmed.

Then there’s the fun part: the music and arts programs. In particular, the Shutterbugs mentorship program allows children living with cancer to express and develop their voices through the art of photography. It’s more than just a creative outlet; the eight-week, curriculum-based programs teach kids self-mastery, hold them accountable for their work, and provide an opportunity to create and see their photographs shown in a gallery setting. This brings immeasurable joy to families where joy comes at a premium; and when, hopefully, the kids “get clean” from their disease, they come out of it with a newly boosted sense of self. It is that spirit that makes Pablove and Insomniac kindred families. Both go above and beyond the norm. They bring art into everything they do. They put the experience of those they serve above all else. And they seek to make lasting impacts in people’s lives.

“Insomniac isn’t just a concert promoter,” says Castelaz. “It is a giant ecosystem that supports all these different DJs and electronic acts. It is a point of inspiration for all of its fans. There’s something really inspirational and aspirational in electronic music that I really dig, you know? People are conscious of the fact that they’re coming together in large numbers and that there’s an energy that’s created.”

In a competitive and sometimes alienating music scene, we seek to create a family where all are accepted. And in the dark and disorienting world of cancer, Pablove offers a beacon of hope and a helping hand. Above all, we share a common devotion to keeping things positive.

No stranger to fighting childhood cancer with love, Insomniac also recently made an incredible $50,000 donation to support our 2014 Childhood Cancer Research Grants. A huge P<3 thank you goes out to Insomniac and congratulations to Jo Ann + Jeff for the honor!

Read Insomniac’s full write-up for more pictures and info from the event.

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