The Emily and Yvonne Selke Memorial Fund will host the Third Planet Festival at The World Cafe Life March 19. Emily, a 2013 Drexel alumnus, and her mother, Yvonne, were aboard Germanwings Flight 9525 on March 24, 2015 when the plane crashed in the French Alps, leaving no survivors. On the one year anniversary of the crash, Emily and Yvonne’s friends and family are presenting this musical festival to honor their memories and celebrate their lives.
Emily majored in music industry at Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. She served as the membership vice president for her sorority, Gamma Sigma Sigma Zeta Chapter, and graduated with honors in 2013. Her love of music and traveling sparked the idea for the festival.
“Emily was dedicated and hardworking. You could talk to her for a minute and feel like you’ve known her forever. She was so understanding and easy to get along with. She was always smiling,” Alex Tyler, a sister in Gamma Sigma Sigma and an organizer for the Third Planet Festival, said in an email interview.
“I feel like when you hear about people who passed away, you never hear the bad. With Emily, I can’t really think of any character flaw that people are overlooking. She was this genuine, kind person who loved helping others. She loved dogs and music and was the kind of person you could count on when you needed something,” Tyler continued.
Emily’s mother Yvonne, who served as a contractor for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, will also be remembered. “The festival is honoring both Emily and her mom, Yvonne. It’s hard to speak about Yvonne when I didn’t know her but she isn’t forgotten. Emily and her mom were close and from what I can gather, Emily got a lot of her character from her mom,” Tyler said.
During her time at Drexel, Emily was heavily involved with music. Shortly following her graduation, she aided in the organization of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, and she had plans to do similar work in the future.
“Emily had incredible dreams and aspirations. She wanted to produce professional music festivals, and as a graduate of Drexel’s music industry program she was well on her way to making that dream a reality,” Julie Kimelman, a friend of Emily’s and an organizer for the Third Planet Festival, wrote in an email.
Because festival planning was such a passion of hers, several of Emily’s friends decided that a festival in Emily and her mother’s honor would be the best way to celebrate their lives. Thus, the Third Planet Festival was conceived. The primary festival organizers include Kimelman and Tyler as well as music industry major Ashley Kuhn and Gamma Sigma Sigma members Meredith Perry and Alyssa Stump.
While the festival itself serves as a tribute to Emily and Yvonne, the proceeds from ticket sales will be put toward helping Drexel students studying music industry who wish to study or intern abroad during their time at Drexel.
“The Emily and Yvonne Selke Memorial Fund will assist Drexel students who share Emily’s passions of live music, traveling, and helping others to study or intern abroad. It is our goal to award financial assistance to a student each year,” Kimelman said.
The organizers aspire to make the festival an annual occurrence. They hope that eventually the event will be able to feature Emily’s favorite band, Modest Mouse. In the end, though, it is all about bringing people together to honor Emily and her mother’s memories.
“It is our goal to make this festival what Emily would have wanted – a celebration of everything she cherished most, with the end goal of helping others,” Kimelman said.
“Emily isn’t here to do what she wanted in life like plan festivals. I hope we can honor her in this small way and see the festival grow because it’s a way to keep Emily’s spirit and love of music alive,” Tyler shared Kimelman’s sentiment.
The Third Planet Festival will take place at World Cafe Live Philadelphia at 2 p.m. March 19. Tickets are $20 and featured bands include Bombadil, Oxymorrons and Kodiak. Proceeds from the festival will benefit the Emily & Yvonne Selke Memorial Fund.