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Dayton Music Festival promises two nights of music from the Miami Valley

Photo: Dayton pop-punk band The Raging Nathans opens the Dayton Music Festival Friday night at Blind Bob’s. Photo: Todd White

By Josher Lumpkin

Dayton Music Festival (DMF) is a homegrown annual tradition that has served to exhibit some of the incredible local region’s best talent. Though the format and venues change from year to year, DMF has been showcasing local and regional musical acts since 2005.

This year, music performed by over twenty bands will be spread over two nights at two different venues — Blind Bob’s and Yellow Cab Tavern

Nathan Peters, who has performed in such important Dayton bands as Captain of Industry and Lioness, is the primary organizer of this year’s DMF. He wanted to take it back to its roots of showing off some of the best bands from our area while also remedying the failed attempt by prior organizers over the past two years to also include non-music “arts” offerings.

“It’s always been a festival with Cincinnati and Columbus bands or bands with ties to Dayton from back in the day,” he says.

Peters says he got 60 applications from Dayton bands that wanted to play this year. After some tough decision-making and soul-searching, Peters was able to finally settle on a lineup for top billing explaining,

“I wanted to have a couple of headlining Dayton bands.”

This Friday night, November third, Dark Backward, a surf-influenced Dayton band, headlines Yellow Cab Tavern. The 1984 Draft, Dayton’s answer to The Replacements, will close out at Blind Bob’s.

Saturday Peters’ own Talking Heads cover band, This Must Be The Party, closes the event at Yellow Cab, while the melodic and melancholy female-fronted Dayton band Moira will end the festival at Blind Bob’s.

Of This Must Be the Party, Peters says, “We’re fourteen Dayton musicians who just do The Talking Heads Stop Making Sense. I asked the guys to do this for Dayton Music fest this year just to kind of switch it up. I also felt like that band represents a lot of Dayton musicians. It’s just a heck of a time.”

Other noteworthy acts playing DMF include The Raging Nathans, Oh Condor, The Nightbeast, and Happy Chichester. Party Man, one of Dayton’s newest bands, features members of such familiar Dayton acts as Ohio Casket and The Motel Beds. On Friday night, out-of-town acts Benchmarks and Sammy Kay will be performing at Blind Bob’s. While, Quemado, a newer band featuring Nate Farley – previously of Guided by Voices, The Method, and The Amps – will be playing its second-ever show at Yellow Cab.

Bands are staggered every 30 minutes over the two festival nights, with sets beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. DJs Etch and Mike Cooley will be spinning records in-between sets at Blind Bob’s “to try and include the different genres a little bit.”

Nate Mendenhall, general manager of Blind Bob’s, tells Dayton City Paper, “DMF is one of the best events all year. I liked going before I worked at Blind Bob’s and I enjoy it every year while working. The lineup this year is fantastic. This is Mr. Peter’s first year organizing it and he has done a great job. I hope to see DMF continue to grow in the years ahead. Dayton has a ton of very talented musicians and I think this showcase is a great way for people who are new to the local music scene to see a lot of this town’s talent in one weekend.”

The Nightbeast’s frontman, Nick Testa, says of Dayton Music Festival, “Dayton has such a great collection of weird, exciting, and entertaining music. It’s awesome that all of it will come together for one festival. So many bands that you wouldn’t normally see together jammed into the same room and you really don’t know what’s going to happen. Either way it will be fun.”

Dayton Music Fest is this Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4 at Blind Bob’s, 430 East Fifth Street, and Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 East Fourth Street, in Dayton. Admission is $8 for each night or $15 for a weekend pass for patrons 21+. For more information, please visit DMF’s Facebook page,

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at

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