The Story of the Pop Punk Party Fundraiser Show

It started with a note .... the kind of note that no one wants to find.

In November of 2016, the EGOpicks family lost a huge piece of our hearts to suicide.
His name was Zach Hucall. He was only 21.

Best friend and bandmate of Lisa’s son Tanner - Zach was a staple in the Lane house from the time he was 12 years old. Zach was a kind-hearted, fun-loving, hilarious ball of energy who was instantly adored by anyone who met him. Through their teen years, Tanner, Zach, and Tanner's long-time friend Vaughn (who lived 2 houses down) spent practically every weekend at the Lane House hanging out, playing video games, and playing music. ‘The boys’ spent much of their time jamming and learning to play songs from their favorite pop punk and ska bands – and even wrote and recorded a few originals over the years under the band name Happy Mayhem.

The tragic and devastating loss of Zach turned all of our lives upside down. We all found ourselves struggling with our own emotional well-being and mental health. Many of us experienced intense periods grief, anxiety, and depression - but through it all, we tackled the tough times together by opening up and being there for one another, and supporting each other in any way we could.

In the spring of 2017, together with Zach’s family, we decided to funnel our emotions into something positive – to try to help others that might be suffering like Zach clearly was.

    … and so the Pop Punk Party was born. "Live bands playing all your pop punk favorites" was the theme - raising awareness (and funds) for mental health and suicide prevention was the mission.

    The first POP PUNK PARTY Fundraiser Show was held on November 17, 2017. With the amazing support from all who attended, and the Winnipeg community in general, together we managed to raise $7500 for Teen Talk MB, who “provide services for youth from a harm reduction, prevention and education perspective.”

    The POP PUNK PARTY 2 in August of 2018 was bigger and better with the addition of online memorabilia auctions. Some of our EGOpicks customers generously donated all kinds of incredible items that we auctioned off on Facebook in the weeks and months leading up to the Pop Punk Party, and included in raffle prizes to be won at the show. With these extra efforts, the 2018 event raised over $13,000 for Kids Help Phone and The Robb Nash Project – taking our 2-show total to $21,000.

    Pop Punk Party Ambassador Ian Grushka of New Found Glory with a photo pick of Zach.

    2019’s POP PUNK PARTY 3 took the annual fundraiser show to a whole new level – raising a total of $20,412.50 - once again for Kids Help Phone and The Robb Nash Project.

    A large portion of this unbelievable amount raised was thanks to our newly dubbed Pop Punk Party Ambassador – Mr. Ian Grushka, bass player for New Found Glory. Ian and Lisa became friends through another fundraising group that they were both involved with – Pick Collectors Against Cancer. With Ian being as kind and generous as he is – and having experienced his own personal struggles with mental health -- he jumped right on board to help with the Pop Punk Party in whatever way he could. Ian donated many items for auctions, and even hosted the auctions personally on his own Instagram page.

    With the Covid-19 pandemic hitting in early 2020, we were heartbroken to not be able to plan and host another fundraiser. To keep our mission going, the Lane Family personally donated $2000 to The Robb Nash Project, and another $2,000 to the The Unison Benevolent Fund – who provide discreet financial assistance and mental health services to musicians and workers in the Canadian Music Industry. This brought our current total funds raised and donated to $45,750.63.

    With the ongoing pandemic restrictions in 2021, we were unable to hold an in-person show once again – but we teamed up with another local annual fundraiser show – The 90’s Tribute Show – to present ‘SUPPORT THE SCENE’ LIVESTREAM Fundraiser Show’ on Sunday July 25th – in support of the The Unison Benevolent Fund. Together we raised $10,000 to help support our Canadian musicians and music industry professionals, as well as one of our beloved local live music venues here in Winnipeg - The Park Theatre.

    Losing Zach was incredibly hard on all of us, and it still is every day - but our memories of him still make us smile and laugh, and we are all so thankful to have had him in our lives for as long as we did. We do this event every year - not only to keep Zach’s memory and love of pop punk music alive - but also because we want to help prevent others from having to go through similar events in their lives. That’s why we continue to support organizations that dedicate themselves to doing exactly that.

    THANK YOU TO OUR POP PUNK PARTY PARTNERS AND COMMUNITY

    We are so proud of what has been accomplished with the Pop Punk Party to date – but we certainly couldn’t do this alone. We have so many amazing people that jump in and support what we do with the Pop Punk Party each year – from the artists and businesses that donate items for our online auctions and raffles, to the bands that donate their time and talent to play the shows - to our favorite Winnipeg Live Music venue – The Park Theatre - who graciously open their doors and donate their space for us to do our thing year after year. OH, and to our local Pop Punk Party Community who come out to the shows and have the best time ever – we love you guys!

    OUR POP PUNK PARTY AMBASSADOR:

    • Ian Grushka (New Found Glory)

    THANK YOU TO THE BANDS AND ARTISTS WHO HAVE DONATED AUCTION ITEMS:

    • Bayside
    • Brent Fitz – (Slash)
    • Darby Mills (The Headpins)
    • Darrell Millar (Killer Dwarfs)
    • DD Verni (OverKill)
    • Forest Blakk
    • Harlequin
    • Helix
    • Honeymoon Suite
    • K.K. Downing (judas Priest)
    • Men Without Hats
    • The Movielife
    • New Found Glory
    • The Pumps / Orphan
    • Richie Stotts (Plasmatics)
    • Ryan Key
    • Saga
    • The Sheepdogs
    • Slaughter
    • Streetheart
    • Vince Neil
    • Vinnie Fiorello (Less Than Jake)
    • Warrant
    • Wolfmeier Guitars
    • Wreckin’ So

    POP PUNK PARTY TALENT:

    • Rylie Saunders and Kevin Repay of THE VILLAGE IDIOTS (Emcees PPP1, 2 and 3)
    • Kristin Marand – Power 97FM (Emcee Support The Scene)
    • The 12/21 (PPP3, Support The Scene 2021)
    • Brotherhood & Co. (PPP2, PPP3)
    • Dial-Up Deadbeats (PPP3)
    • Minus 40 (PPP1)
    • NirVan Down by the River (Support The Scene)
    • Parkview (PPP1, PPP2)
    • Rudy Blue (PPP3)
    • Screaming at Traffic (PPP2)
    • Single Player Campaign (PPP1, PPP2)

    SUPPORTING BUSINESSES:

    • Advanced Audio
    • Assiniboine Credit Union
    • Bedside Studios
    • Blue Moon Media
    • Crampton’s Market
    • Embassy Graphics
    • Fionn’s Restaurant
    • Float.calm
    • Hwy. 59 Guitars
    • Leprechaun FX
    • Long & McQuade
    • Los Cabos Drumsticks
    • MoonLily Wellness
    • Outta Town Sound
    • Quest Musique
    • Scotty Webster (Albert Street Art Market & Tattoo)
    • Nirvana Salon
    • Radiance Gifts
    • Red Tie Productions
    • Robert Young
    • Rumors Comedy Club
    • SoundSlice FX
    • Subway (Headingley)
    • Super 8 Motel
    • Steve Thomas Art
    • Thermea Spa
    • The Park Theatre
    • Thunder Rapids
    • True North Sports & Entertainment
    • Winston & Fidel Cigar Box Guitars

    OUR OTHER AMAZING SUPPORTERS:

    • Les Bartle
    • Randy James

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, and to keep up to date with the Pop Punk Party events – head on over to the @PopPunkPartyWPG page on Facebook. Please give it a LIKE, and SHARE it with your friends and followers.

    IF YOU’D LIKE TO HELP OUT IN ANY WAY, you can reach out to Lisa and the rest of the Pop Punk Party team through the Facebook page, or via email at [email protected].

    SPEAK WHEN YOU'RE WEAK ... LISTEN IF YOU'D MISS 'EM