Who was Johnny Fountain?

Photo by Stephen Quirk, May 2009

This past Monday, Portland suffered a huge loss in the peaceful passing of our bright light and good friend, Johnny Fountain. You may remember him from his stunning performance at Arootsakoostik South this past summer, or his small, equally-powerful performance during the first night The Couch returned to Empire. Maybe you were his friend and made memories with him going on outdoor adventures, playing music, and spreading kindness and love through fun and lighthearted jokes. Maybe he was your bartender at the old Empire before it reopened. Maybe he walked you safely to your car, or saved you from getting creepily hit on. Maybe he introduced you to the love of your life. Maybe you loved him. Maybe, like me, you first saw him perform with the Panda Bandits on an amazingly fun night. Maybe you used to hear him play overhead at the First Friday Artwalk in the early days. Maybe you read his brave and honest Facebook posts about his ongoing battle with cancer. Maybe you attended a fundraiser to help him on his journey. Maybe you are just a friend of a friend who is grieving. In any case, if you have any involvement with the vibrantly rich music scene in our town, you have felt Jonny’s presence. While he’s passed beyond the rainbow bridge, you will probably still feel it in all of those that knew him, who will continue on in his legacy.

For those wanting to pay their respects, there will be a Songs and Stories Memorial for loved ones at Empire on Sunday, December 13 from 4-7PM*.

*Correction: It was previously stated that the Songs and Stories Memorial  would occur from 1-4PM instead of 4-7pm.

Savanna Pettengill
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