"I have witnessed so many people and known so many people that are sometimes suffering in silence. We are a microcosm of society. There are a lot of people suffering but the stigma is coming off of it in a way. People are willing to talk about it," says Lyman, who ran the Warper Tour for more than 20 years until it ended last year. "There are a lot of resources out there but it is sometimes hard to find them. I told Talinda that maybe we could do a show that promotes these resources. That led to the event at L.A. Live that was supposed to happen on May 9."
Days before the physical festival was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lyman and students from the University of Southern California, where he teaches, mounted a kickoff event to promote it. Held on USC's campus, the event garnered more than 200,000 views online, leading Lyman and Bennington to decide that moving the May festival online was a viable option.
"I never give up without a fight. It’s not my style. And I said, ‘We can take this thing online,'" says Lyman, who worked with KNEKT.TV to turn the single day festival into a three-day online event.
320 Festival will feature more than 21 hours of programming, more than 30 artists performances and over 100 speakers. It will also include more than 40 non-profit partners who will be on hand to provide resources for those struggling with their mental health.
The festival's educational sessions will feature discussions around topics including Cultural Perspectives on Mental Health, Social Media: The Age of Anxiety, Coping and Thriving After Trauma, The Psyche of Sports: Lessons Learned On and Off the Court, Prevention Resources: Learn the 5 Signs and How to Help, Criminalizing Mental Illness: America's Shame and many more.
"For our industry, we have lost too many people. We’ve lost a whole generation of artists. Some will say that they died from addiction and you’re going to realize that many facets of addiction have to do with people’s mental health. It all goes hand in hand," says Lyman. "We need to take care of our artists and our crews much better than we have in the past.'
Additional special appearances by Brandon Novak, Cassadee Pope, Dan Estrin of Hoobastank, Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade, Duff McKagan of Guns N' Roses, Frank Turner, James Quick, Joe Sib, Keith Buckley, Morgan St. Jean, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Jayden Panesso of Sylar, Yungblud and more will round out this year’s line-up.
Knowing how difficult the country-wide lockdowns and isolation have been for many due to the global pandemic, Lyman calls the festival's arrival this month "fortuitous timing."
"I think we are going to have a reach in many many places where people wouldn’t have been able to attend," says Lyman. "If you save one person, then it was a success. If you helped one person get through their day a little better, then it was a success."
320 Festival begins Friday at 8:30 a.m. PST with a Mindfulness Daybreak. Check out the full schedule and lineup here.