IDAHO FALLS — Julie Radford never imagined she would lose her son so soon.
At just 22 years old, her son, musician Gage “The Jester” Ker, lost his battle against opiates in January. It’s been a hard road to say goodbye.
But many in the community have stepped up to help her grieve and celebrate his life. A silent auction and music festival, aptly named Jester Fest, will be held to honor him Saturday. All proceeds will go to Behavioral Health Crisis Center of East Idaho.
This is my way of saying goodbye to my son.
Ker attended school in Rigby and later Skyline High School. For Christmas one year, he got his first guitar and amp and it changed his life. He later became lead guitarist of heavy metal band Shades of Interpretation.
“Gage was left-handed but played right-handed,” Radford said. “He was also self-taught. He would play heavy metal with his band, but would sit in the living room learning Bach. When he slept, his hands would be forming notes.”
Ker was very respected in the local music scene.
“We couldn’t even go to Walmart without him being stopped less than four times by people wanting to say hello,” she said. “He was so polite and called every one ma’am or sir, rushing to open the door, and asking if he could help someone he saw struggling.”
So far, many people have donated things for the auction, such as a gift certificate to a martial arts facility, and items such as a massage table, jewelry, homemade items, band merchandise, and much more.
However, there is still a need for donations. If you have something you could donate to the auction, contact Radford by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer cash donation, deposit at the Bank of Commerce under the account Julie Radford/Jester Fest.
Ker has been missed by many. At his funeral, Radford said, the funeral home was full and people were spilling out onto the sidewalk.
“We allowed people to share memories of Gage,” she said. “So many people said so many wonderful things about him, that I knew that the service would not be enough. That is how I made the decision to create a way for the people that loved him to say goodbye, and this is my way of saying goodbye to my son.”
Jester Fest will be held Saturday at The Gem, at 216 First St. in Idaho Falls, which has offered the venue free for the fundraiser. A silent auction will be held from 1 to 5p.m., and starting at 6 p.m. cost is $8 at the door to see the following bands perform: Legends Fade, End of Arcane, Scratch, Denots and Sicarian Impulse.
Idaho State Journal staff
Brian Stelter, CNN