Overflow Brewing to Host Focus Benefit Concert for Photographer Sean Sisk

If you read Ottawa Life Magazine or have seen photos of any of the city’s great musical events like Bluesfest, Jazzfest, and CityFolk, chances are you have seen the work of Sean Sisk, one of the capital’s most talented photographers.

Sean’s love for photography dates to his childhood when his grandmother gifted him his first camera at the age of seven — a lifelong passion that became a career. Sean has shot anybody who is anybody in Ottawa and is beloved in the community.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck. A July diagnosis of Group A Streptococcus ran awry and turned into a life-threatening case of septic shock; Sean is in the ICU fighting to stay alive.

Corey Stone, Sean’s longtime makeup artist, has much to say about the photographer. The two have partnered since 2008, and Stone describes Sisk as more than just a work colleague, saying the big-heart photographer is his “brother from another mother.”

Together Sean and Corey have worked to raise funds for local charities. A calendar they shot raised over $25,000 for the Ottawa Humane Society and the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club. And then there is Sisk’s famous Gord Downie portrait, which adorns the walls of Overflow Brewing; prints continue to be sold in support of Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

According to Stone, he and Sisk always do their best to promote Ottawa’s arts community. The duo regularly offer photo sessions to local up-in-coming musicians for $40 and $10 for make-up so that eager bands can get professional photographs done right to help them knock on doors. Stone says, “Sean just has a great soul, and I think that’s why we still work together.”

At OLM, we had the pleasure of working with Sean Sisk for many of our magazine cover shots. Professionalism aside, we were touched by his kindness and generosity when we offered him an ad in the print version of the magazine, and, as usual, Sisk, always thinking of others, asked if we could instead make one for Stone so that he could get the coverage and promotion.

In July, a Gofundme page was launched to support Sean’s children Kaylin, TJ, Kenzie and his wife Erin during these difficult times, but members of the local artistic community want to do more. That’s where Overflow Brewing comes in.

The Ottawa microbrewery not only makes great beer, it’s also a music venue with a large indoor stage and plenty of space. On Friday, August 25th, from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Overflow will host a Focus Benefit Concert to raise funds for the Sisk family.

With Overflow as a live music venue and Sisk’s passion for shooting concerts, the relationship between the two might seems like a no-brainer, but it goes deeper. Since 2019, Sisk has been using the taproom at Overflow as a photography studio.

Co-Owners Mitch Veilleux and Brad Fennell have a close working relationship with Sisk. Veilleux describes Sisk as the type of guy whose “Very loyal and would give you the shirt off his back.” He says that Overflow really wants to return that loyalty. The two also want to ensure that the family’s financial burden is eased as much as possible until Sean can get back on his feet.

The Focus Benefit Concert will be one big concert for a larger-than-life personality. The show at Overflow will include 14 musical acts and 30 musicians performing, as well as beer and food specials. Ticket proceeds will go towards the Gofundme campaign for the Sisk family, as well as a portion of the beer proceeds.

Despite having never taken on such a massive 14-band show, Veilleux says the brewery has a 400-person capacity and is ready for the challenge.

George Stryker from the Barrow Gang Buskers, one of the bands set to perform on August 25th, said, “Sean is a super photographer, does exemplary work and has done plenty for this community.” Like everyone involved in the Focus Benefit Concert, the band’s frontman says, “We’re hoping we can help in our own small way to raise more funds for Sean and his family and show we care dearly about him.”

Whether you work in media, in the arts, or have had the pleasure of being in front of the lens of the city’s best photographer, you don’t want to miss this musical extravaganza.

Mark your calendar, get your tickets and head to Overflow Brewery on August 25th to show the Sisk family how much we care for their son, son-in-law, husband, and father.

One of the biggest-hearted guys in our city needs our help; let’s show him we care.

Tickets are $40 and are available at this link.

If you can’t make the August 25th Focus Benefit Concert, you can donate to the Gofundme page using this link.