Beer, bands, bar-b-q, Brooks, Brown, and Urban

T here is only one way to cram a year’s worth of events into six weeks and the Springfield Arts Council (SAC) has discovered it. The amazing result is the Springfield Arts Festival. A production of “Oliver!” was the initial performance. By the time you read this, they will have presented KidsFest (sponsored by the […]

Country Legends Tribute appearing at Springfield Arts Festival


The Country Legends Tribute features Les Smith as Garth Brooks, Michael Thomson as Keith Urban, and Elton Lammie as Zac Brown (l-r).

By Marla Boone

There is only one way to cram a year’s worth of events into six weeks and the Springfield Arts Council (SAC) has discovered it. The amazing result is the Springfield Arts Festival.

A production of “Oliver!” was the initial performance. By the time you read this, they will have presented KidsFest (sponsored by the Springfield Art Museum), a tribute band or two, comedy acts, a dance troupe featuring artists both fully abled and those in wheelchairs, the U.S. Army Concert Band and Soldiers’ Chorus, a guitar workshop, and an evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein Classics presented by the Miami Valley Symphony Orchestra.

On Friday, July 13th a renowned group of musicians will take the stage. Billed as the Country Legends Tribute Tour, three performers who bear remarkable resemblances to those they honor will rock the audience. Michael Thomson appears as Keith Urban. Michael has performed in cover bands for many years. During that time, he honed his skills as a guitarist and front man. Then his love of country music inspired him to create this tribute trio.

Les Smith represents Garth Brooks. According to his agent and biography, he looks and sounds so much like Garth that many who have seen the show say they forget they are watching a tribute band. He began playing country music fourteen years ago. Then he was approached by an agent who encouraged him to develop a tribute act and take it on the road. He has performed over a thousand shows in the past twenty years.

Elton Lammie commands the mic as Zac Brown. He is just steeped in talent, performing as both a country singer and, in the past few years, as an operatic tenor. In 2006, Elton came out on top on Bravo’s “So You Want to be an Opera Star.” He has performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as a soloist and has traveled the world sharing his gift.

The Springfield Arts Festival is funded by presenting sponsor, the Robert J. Bennett family. Premier sponsors include the Acra Family, the Della Selsor Trust, the Heidelberg Distributing Company, John Legend, the Springfield Foundation, and the Turner Foundation. It is brought to life in partnership with the Clark County/Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee and the 2018 operations grantor, the Ohio Arts Council.

Upcoming attractions scheduled for the Arts Festival include a three-day BBQ and Beer Blast (July 12, 13, & 14), tribute bands both July 12th (BOSTYX, the music of Boston and STYX) and July 14th (Resurrection, a Journey tribute). The Country Legends anchor this weekend on Friday. That’s the good news. The even better news is, alcohol is not sold at every event (wait for it, wait for it…).

But, according to Melanie Ellis, Office Manager of the SAC, “The Country Legends Tribute Concert falls during our BBQ and Beer Blast. Starting at 5 p.m., we will have local BBQ vendors and craft breweries, including Springfield’s Mother Stewart’s Brewery, selling food and drinks in the park.” Alcohol cannot be brought into the events. Additionally, no photography is allowed.

Held at the Turner Pavilion in the Veteran’s Park Amphitheater, all the events are free, but donations will be accepted during intermissions. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on. Chairs may be placed in the Amphitheater beginning at 6 a.m. the day of the show and must be removed at the end of the performance. No tarps will be allowed. There is limited bleacher seating on the south side of Cliff Park Road at the rear of the Amphitheater. Limited opportunities to rent a chair will be available at the Welcome Center.

Attendees may park in the Veteran’s Park lot west of the Grand Lawn, the Springfield Museum of Art, the Kissell Center, Wittenberg University, or the Covenant Presbyterian Church. Handicapped parking is located east of the Grand Lawn along Cliff Park Road. Use the Fountain Avenue entrance only. Group transport and senior parking is also limited. These are located west of the Grand Lawn along Cliff Park Road. Use the Plum Street entrance only. Designated smoking areas are beyond the east and west road barricades.

The SAC is involved year-round in four notable programs. Arts in Education creates an environment for young people to experience the arts. Another mission is to assist teachers with the integration of arts in the classroom. Arts in the Classroom make live performances available to students in their own schools. Youth Art Ambassadors engage middle and high school students with their peers who share an interest in performing arts. Arts Alive! teams with six additional entities to make the arts into a classroom event.

Country Legends Concert Tour will perform on July 14 at Turner Pavilion in the Veteran’s Park Amphitheatre, 250 Cliff Park Road, Springfield. For more information on this and other events, call the Springfield Arts Council at 937. 324.2712, or visit springfieldartscouncil.org.

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Marla Boone has enjoyed a varied career, from nursing to aviation. She is an active volunteer with the WACO Historical Society in Troy. Reach DCP freelance writer Marla Boone at MarlaBoone@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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