by Alexandra Cooke
Approximately $1,700 was raised over the course of the evening for the Jay Hamilton Foundation, a fund started by Hamilton’s mother and brother. It aims to promote up-and-coming DJs and raise money for cancer research. The foundation also works to give a scholarship to a student from the Maritimes pursuing a career in music.
Greg King, who also goes by his DJ name Rob Brothers, was a good friend of Hamilton’s. He planned the event at his own expense to raise the money, spending many a night making calls and responding to emails. “It was a lot of work, but it’s worth it since we’re raising money for Jay,” says King. “I’d do it again for him.”
The music for the event was provided by DJs Deko-Ze, Rob Brothers, and Charife. Partygoers in the club music scene took the opportunity to remember one of their own, and despite the festive atmosphere, there was no doubt Hamilton is dearly missed by his friends, family, and fans.
Mat Claridge, a fellow DJ and a friend of Hamilton’s, says he was well-loved in the community. “He’s touched a lot of people; DJs, fans, or just other people in the music business,” says Claridge. “He’s done what a lot of other people wanted to do, and a lot of people looked up to him for advice; whether it be for DJing, all around knowledge of the music industry, or how to be a better person.”
“He was always positive about it; he had the outlook that he was going to get through it,” says Claridge. “It kinda just happened suddenly when he passed away. It was very quick, and nobody expected it to happen.”
King says when Hamilton found out he was going to die, he was more worried about how his loved ones would cope than about himself. “When it got down to the last few days, he wasn’t concerned about himself; he wasn’t scared of death … he was more concerned about his family and friends.”
“He was loved by everyone,” says King. “Him as a person, and him as a performer in the industry. He was just a genuinely good guy.”
Jay’s death was a huge blow to Halifax’s music scene. “You name a bar in the city, and he has had a residency there, or played very regularly,” says King.
“It’s not just Halifax that was affected,” adds Matt Claridge. “It was Toronto, Montreal, Calgary … there were a lot of areas other than here that were affected, and they actually did a couple of remembrance shows across Canada for him.”
Although nothing is set in stone, King would like to make “Remembering Jay Hamilton” an annual event.
“Now that I’ve started it, why end it? We’re trying to continue his legacy. People still like to party, people will always love Jay, so why not once a year have an event that is dedicated to him and raise money for his foundation?” he says. “The foundation’s not going anywhere, Jay’s memory isn’t going anywhere, and the club scene in general’s not going anywhere, so why not continue it?”