Losing a friend is one of the hardest things a person can go through. I’ve had to learn this hard lesson this year – and force myself to write about it. I’ve tried to write this piece multiple times over last 10 days, but I still feel totally powerless to translate the loss I’m feeling into words that do credit to one of the best human beings I’ve ever known. I’m writing today about my good friend, favorite musician and fishing buddy, Jon Horvath of Fort Knox Five, who passed away on August 21st, 2015.
I met Jon and his bandmate Steve Raskin for the first time at Shambhala 2013, the same day I met my other festival besties, Betty And Kora. All our different paths converged that day, and remained intertwined. I saw my first Fort Knox Five set that weekend, and they instantly became an act I wanted to see on every festival lineup. I knew that if Fort Knox Five was playing a festival, not only would there be an insanely fun, funk-filled dance party; it also meant that Jon and Steve would be there, hanging out. The more I got to know Jon and Steve, the more I loved and respected them. These guys had been in the scene for years, yet they still played every show at maximum energy. You could see how much they loved it in every track they played. The only thing they seemed to love more than making music was bringing people together to dance to it.
As our paths crossed over the last two years, I really began to see what a special human being Jon was. Everyone loved his friendly demeanor, his jokes, and the way he really listened when you spoke with him. His giant fro hairstyle was a perfect match for who he was as a person. You couldn’t look at him and not smile. You couldn’t talk to him and not love him.
One of my favorite memories of Jon was when we discovered our mutual love of fishing. It’s easy to get caught up in our music-filled lives and forget about other hobbies. After our discovery, we always made time to talk about fishing and even started planning a post-Shambhala trip for this year. The trip obviously did not happen, but I have a feeling we’re going to get it in sometime doen ther road, after I reach the end of my line as well.
I wasn’t the only one the Jon had an impact on. He made genuine connections with every person he came across. This was clear by the outpouring of love for him that flooded my news feed when he passed. It pains me to think of how many people he touched who are mourning his loss, but I find solace in the knoweldge that many people’s lives are better because of him.
Luckily for all of us who have an afro-sized hole in our heart, there’s something you can do to make Jon’s memory live on. Simply listen to Fort Knox Five, smile, and feel blessed that you knew a true legend. As long as you feel happy when you think of his big smile and puffy hair, then he will always be with you – just like I know he’s always with me.
Love you, Jon.
Thank you for everything.