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Outbound: Rock Autism Festival

‘Strictly Hip’ help millennial’s dream

3,000 children and their families are struggling on the autism spectrum, right here in Western NY. Erie County’s children rank second in the state with the largest amount of diagnoses. As it stands now, 90% of young adults on the spectrum are unemployed. Rock Autism is shining the spotlight on autism and raising funds to develop, support and grow local music, film and arts programs that serve people on the spectrum.

Rock Autism’s, Millennial volunteers announce a benefit concert to raise autism awareness and funds for music and art therapy programs. The event will take place September 1st, 2018 at Village Park in Ellicottville, NY.

Rock Autism is attempting to empower the autistic helping them gain the skills to build a craft in the creative arts. The mission of the organization is to address the reality of living with autism and raise funds to develop, support and grow local music, film and art programs serving youth and adults on the autism spectrum. We aim for the millennial generation living with autism to develop a craft that leads to a career in their given field of interest, keeping them free from committing crime, drug addiction and alcohol abuse.

Max Muscato founded Rock Autism to raise awareness and empower a new generation living on the autism spectrum. Max, whose brother was diagnosed with autism at the age of four, knows firsthand the grim reality youth living with autism face, “When they turn 18 or 21, they’re cut-off from creative arts services. There’s nowhere for them to go.”

Max personally watched his brother, Sonny, not receive the support he needed to be successful in life. His love for music and musical ability put Sonny in a mental space where he felt he could thrive. Without a job, no prospects and no music therapy to maintain him Sonny fell into a dangerous behavioral pattern. He made friends in the streets and battled clinical depression by self-medicating with drugs. “Music makes me feel good and free. People don’t make fun of me in music. They don’t hurt me. I feel like I can do anything.” Sonny Muscato.

The festival includes ‘Strictly Hip’ who have headlined with Big Eyed Phish: Dave Matthews Tribute Band and Tiny Music, a Stone Temple Pilots tribute band are electrifying the night for autism families. Founder and recording artist Max Muscato will feature his brother Sonny Muscato on drums to perform festival anthem: “Sonnyboi” a song Max wrote about Sonny’s struggles with autism. California-based EDALO will return home to his Buffalo roots to bring his Livetronic groove to move the crowd. The Tins, Deadwolf, Ponder, FEVERBOX and, XOXO will round out the line-up to raise autism awareness.

Rock Autism partnerships include People Inc., Hodgson & Russ Attorneys, Labatt Blue, 103.3 The Edge & Holiday Valley Ski Resort. The Edge’s James Kurdziel will MC the event. Holiday Valley is offering discounted rates to all Rock Autism Music Festival participants. The festival will feature local vendors and interactive art and musical activities throughout the day. Rock Autism Music Festival is the first major music event to benefit music and art therapy programs at People Inc., Autism Services of Western New York, The Children’s Guild Foundation Autism Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital serving college-age youth on the spectrum & The Summit Center.

Rock Autism announces a benefit concert to raise autism awareness and funds for music and art therapy programs. The event will take place September 1st, 2018 at Village Park in Ellicottville, NY. Gate opens at 12 pm. Presale admission is $15 with VIP packages at $40. Children 12 and under get in free. For more information alea@rockautism.org or call Alea at 716-622-7647.

Written by Mark Lazzara

Mark Lazzara

I have a passion for helping my fellow Western New Yorkers and advance the great things that are going on in this region. Buffalo Rising is a great booster and it’s a blast writing and contributing to BR about positive happenings in our neck of the woods. I appreciate the help I’ve received over the years from organizations and people who share my passion and supported me in efforts that put thousands of people to work and resulted in a community give back of more than $115M to Buffalo’s neediest during my days at the helm of AmeriCorps.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that enabled me to help cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuild more than 700 family homes that were destroyed. Back at home, I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as a coordinator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where we were able to repair, beautify and upgrade homes for an entire neighborhood on Buffalo’s Westside. Other projects close to my heart include a collaboration with Sail Buffalo to build the Cazenovia Boating Center at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and my annual Christmas season time is spent at Buffalo’s treasure, the Broadway Market, playing Santa Clause.

In my other life, I am a workforce development, business, marketing, public relations and fundraising professional. Earned a M.S. Human Service Management from Buffalo State, and enjoy my family life that includes four amazing grandchildren!

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