BRIDGEPORT, CT (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — On January 10th, Michael J. Potashnick, the longtime Co-M.C. for the Gathering of the Vibes festival and a well-known event production jack-of-all-trades in New England, died after a battle with pneumonia. He was 52.
Organizers have announced that two gatherings will take place to honor and celebrate the life of the 52-year-old producer who died from pneumonia. The first gathering, organized by a collaborative group of Michael's friends, will take place Sunday, February 13th from 2-5 p.m. at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, 153 Main Street, Burlington, VT. Friends and family are invited to join together for an afternoon of storytelling, remembrance and celebration.
Hosted by Gathering of the Vibes, the second celebration will take place Sunday, February 20th on the campus of the University of Bridgeport’s Arnold Bernard Center from 3-9 p.m. The Bridgeport gathering will include live music and dedications by some of Michael's favorite artists.
Those planning to attend either event are requested to RSVP via the "Michael Potashnick Memorial" Facebook page by clicking here. Those wanting to make contributions in Michael's memory are asked to kindly donate to his favorite charities: The United Way and the SoNo Arts Festival in Norwalk, CT.
Though Michael had been involved with Gathering of the Vibes every year since its inception in 1997, he also was like family to much of the New England arts and music community. He was an integral part of the Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, the SoNo Arts Celebration, Bridgeport’s Polka Dot Playhouse, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, Burlington’s Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and the All Good Music Festival in West Virginia.
"Michael was family," said Ken Hays, founder of the Vibes. "He exemplified what the Vibes means to so many, reminding us from his spot on center-stage of the love we have to offer each other, and that through music, we can truly see the light that brings harmony and balance to the world. We will miss him tremendously."
A slideshow photo tribute in memory of Michael can be viewed on the Vibes home page.
Those who would like to contribute stories and photos to Michael Potashnick’s memorial services are asked to submit medium/high-resolution photographs (preferably in JPEG format) and stories (1-2 paragraphs) through a special memorial website, or email them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Born Oct. 7, 1958 in Trenton, NJ, and raised in nearby Morrisville, PA, Michael’s arts roots ran deepest in Bridgeport, CT and Burlington, VT, during his career. He studied theatre at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, performing in more than 85 plays and musicals, including appearances on the popular soap operas, "General Hospital" and "Another World." In 2006, Michael relocated from Connecticut to Vermont, where he was best known in his fundamental roles as Production, Stage and Site Manager at Lake Champlain Maritime Festival, the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, and Burlington’s First Night, among other events in the Burlington, region. He was a perennial favorite at the Gathering of the Vibes Festival, acting as Production Manager from 1996-2004 and Co-Emcee from 2004 through 2010.
Pre-deceased by his loving mother, Louise Potashnick, Michael is survived by his father, William Potashnick; stepmother Peg Potashnick; brother David Potashnick; and ex-wife Marianne Castaldo. Michael also is survived by his extended Gathering of the Vibes family; friends and colleagues in Burlington; as well as the countless members of the New England arts and music organizations he touched and influenced during his 26-year career. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers