Light of Day WinterFest 2018

With a goal of topping last year's record-breaking $550,000 raised in its ongoing battle against Parkinson's disease, Light of Day WinterFest 2018 will bring over 150 music acts to 30 venues over 10 days in two New Jersey cities, New York City, and Philadelphia, from January 5-15, 2018.

Light of Day WinterFest 2018

It all started in November 1998 as a 40th birthday party for Bob Benjamin. The music industry veteran and artist manager had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Instead of gifts, he asked that those who attended made donations to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Over $2,000 was raised that night.

In the next two years, the Light of Day organization was born. Benjamin reached out to friends, including concert promoter Tony Pallagrosi and musician Joe D'Urso, to become founding board members and create a formal movement to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's.

In November 2000, the first official Light of Day show was held at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park. It made worldwide news when Bruce Springsteen took the stage for a surprise appearance.

In the 17 years since, Light of Day has raised about $4.5 million. Springsteen has continued to be a vocal supporter, revealing in his best-selling autobiography that his father suffered from Parkinson's. A single annual show has grown into an international tour, with events taking place throughout the year.

The highlight continues to remain Bob Benjamin's Birthday Bash, the headline event of Light of Day WinterFest, which returns home to Asbury Park, as well as shows in Montclair, New York City and Philadelphia, from January 5-15, 2018.

For information about ticket packages, a full performance schedule, and to support Light of Day, visit

Board member Joe D'Urso spoke with Chorus and Verse about the journey in the battle against Parkinson's so far, and where Light of Day would like to see itself on the road ahead.

After 18 years, how has the battle against Parkinson's disease changed? What would you say are the greatest successes so far?

It seems there is certainly more general awareness of Parkinson's and the medical community has improved diagnosing the symptoms earlier than in the past. There have been some advancements in medications and an overall agreement in "movement" exercises to help with the effects of PD.

About $4.5 million has been raised over the past 17 years. What are some of the ways that money has been used?

A majority of LOD's fundraising has gone into research for PD and other neurological disorders. We are proud of a new program, that started in early 2017, called "Boxing for Bob" which uses boxing movements as therapy for PD. We are in multiple locations and we will also be launching speed therapy for PD patients in the very near future.

Light of Day tours internationally, with proceeds from shows going to local Parkinson's organizations. Are there differences in treatment and research for Parkinson's outside of the United States?

It seems as times goes on, especially because of the internet, participants in PD therapy are very aware of what is going on in New Jersey, Sweden, California and the UK. Day-to-day therapies, be it boxing, pilates or cardio exercises, tend to be quite similar. In regard to research, there are differences from country to country at times but the overall scientific community, from my view of it, tends to be on the same page overall.

"Bob's Birthday Bash" at the Paramount gets the most attention every year, but are there any other shows you think will be something special and people should try and see?

There are too many great shows to mention in all honesty! From the House of Independents to The Saint to McLoone's to The Stone Pony to the Silverball Museum, all in Asbury Park, to our shows at the Cutting Room in New York and World Café Live in Philly, and on and on!

What do you hope 2018 will bring for both Light of Day and the battle against Parkinson's?

Our hope, every year, is to find a cure for Parkinson's disease end Light of Day as an organization or find a new cause to battle against.

Photo Credit: Jeff Ross

Matt Mrowicki

Matt Mrowicki founded Chorus and Verse in 2001. He is a rock star designer and technologist, Internet professional, content creator, and entrepreneur specializing in web development, IT consulting, branding, social media and online marketing.