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South Florida fans to celebrate Linkin Park's Chester Bennington at two events

On Sunday, Aug. 20, the rap-rock ferocity of the late Chester Bennington will be saluted across Broward and Palm Beach counties, on the same night that Bennington’s band, Linkin Park, was scheduled to perform at Coral Sky Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach.

Fans of Bennington, who took his own life July 20 at age 41, will gather on the amphitheater’s rolling lawn from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday to celebrate the singer’s legacy with a candlelight vigil and acoustic performances. The meetup was organized by the Facebook group “Who Cares if One More Light Goes Out Well I Do,” who picked the Coral Sky venue when Linkin Park canceled its One More Light Tour in the wake of Bennington’s death.

“Linkin Park's live shows were unbelievable and left you wanting more,” Linkin Park fan Iliana Sanabria wrote on the Facebook group’s event page. Sanabria has also been sharing hundreds of photos from Linkin Park’s previous South Florida concerts at the BB&T Center in Sunrise and Coral Sky. “The connection he had with his fans is irreplaceable.”

Meanwhile, Linkin Park fan Shelby Coyle will host another tribute to Bennington 6-9 p.m. Aug. 20 at Bamford Sports Complex in Davie. Coyle, 25, says she’s loved the band since its 2000 debut album, “Hybrid Theory.”

“I’ve been a fan more than half my entire life,” she says.

The Broward tribute is designed to draw nearby fans unwilling or unable to commute to West Palm Beach.

“I never had a celebrity death hit me so hard before,” says Coyle, of Pembroke Pines. “It felt like I lost my friend. He was the voice of someone I grew up with, who could relate to me on a bad day or get my energy up on a good day.”

With Linkin Park, Bennington set himself apart from other early-2000s frontmen with his intense collision of rock and hip-hop, his versatile vocals often cycling from raw screams to anguished whispers. That powerful flexibility was what Coyle witnessed on Aug. 8, 2014, when Linkin Park last performed in South Florida for a sold-out Coral Sky audience. She remembers the concert began 45 minutes late because, she later found out, Bennington had injured his leg earlier that evening.

When the band finally appeared onstage, “Chester sang his heart out, and we all felt connected as one,” Coyle recalls. “That was my favorite concert ever. Other artists would have canceled, but he was still able to put on a show for us.”

Coyle will bring candles, posters of the band and dove-shaped balloons to the park. Fans can inscribe messages of love to Bennington on the balloons and “then we’ll let them go, so it’s like you’re sending messages to Chester,” she says.

“I don’t want to spend the entire time crying and mourning,” Coyle says. “It will be social and fun. We’ll play some music and honor his life.”

Chester Bennington tributes will take place 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, at Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, in West Palm Beach, and 6-9 p.m. Aug. 20 at Bamford Sports Complex, 3801 S. Pine Island Road, in Davie.

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