Valley News -

By Jeff Pack

Salute the Troops Music and Comedy Festival aims to heal with creativity


Last updated 3/20/2019 at 4:19pm

Courtesy photo

Snoop Dogg will headline Saturday night at the Salute the Troops Music and Comedy Festival. The festival changed venues from March Air Reserve Base north of Perris to Fox Theater and The Glass House in Pomona due to logistical issues.

The inaugural Salute the Troops Music and Comedy Festival, set for Friday, March 22 through Sunday, March 24 in Pomona featuring headliners like Snoop Dogg and members of Wu-Tang Clan will be a significant addition to the music scene in the Inland Empire.

But it's much more than that.

"Really, it's bringing together veterans, active service members, artists, activist artists and children of war as well and bringing everyone together to heal and have a kind of cathartic moment," said Nate Parienti, a longtime event and festival promoter who co-founded Semper Fi Productions with veteran John Wertz.

"John did two tours in Iraq, his brother did two tours in Afghanistan," Parienti said. "His brother's platoon was hit pretty hard and out of the six or seven guys of his platoon that made it out, they have all since killed themselves, except for John's brother Steven.

"That kind of really hit home with us in terms of Post-Traumatic Stress and suicide rates amongst our returning soldiers and veterans."

Parienti said they spoke with one of the veteran-based bands that will perform at the festival, Three Beards, and purple heart recipient comedian Thom Tran, who will also perform, and they all spoke about how music and comedy can help with the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTS for a few minutes at least.

"These things really help to alleviate," Parienti said. "They can change people's perception, even if it's for a short amount of time."

Parienti is confident that artists like the aforementioned Snoop Dogg, along with Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Dashboard Confessional, Cold War Kids, Capital Cities, Suga Free, The Dan Band, Cheat Codes, Yellowcard's William Ryan Key, and the New Power Generation, all scheduled to perform, can do just that.

Comedians such as Adam Carolla, Rob Riggle, Greg Fitzsimons and more will inspire laughs throughout the weekend.

Veteran bands, comedians and artists will perform throughout the weekend, sprinkled in amongst the big named artists. Providing those high-profile opportunities is important to the Semper Fi Productions duo.

"(It was important to) give these guys a platform and giving them a stage with national artists and allow them to further their craft and (providing) exposure as well," Parienti said.

"We just added this kid, Emmanuel Kelly, a child of war in Iraq that was rescued by a couple of service members - he's got deformities and a number of other issues - but he's this wonderful singer," Parienti said. "He was a finalist on the 'X-Factor Australia' and been on tour with Coldplay and just recorded a record with Imagine Dragons. So, he will perform Saturday night."

Initially, the festival was slated to be held at March Air Reserve Base, then at the March Field Air Museum, both just north of Perris, but due to security concerns, they had to move the festival to a more conducive location.

Courtesy photo

Capital Cities will perform Saturday night at the Salute the Troops Music and Comedy Festival.

"We basically had wanted to bring entertainment offerings to soldiers and veterans in places where they typically don't get a lot of those opportunities in their backyard essentially," Parienti said. "Everybody wanted to make it happen there, but at the end of the day, we just weren't able to."

Performances will take place inside the Fox Theater (301 Garey Avenue, Pomona) and The Glass House (200 W 2nd Street, Pomona) and in courtyards near the venues.

For every full price ticket sold, an active service member will receive a free ticket, and veterans and retirees will receive discounted ticket prices.

Festival passes and single day tickets are on sale now and a performance schedule is available at

Jeff Pack can be reached at [email protected]


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