Bikes and beats

Rock the Bike Music Festival rides into Troy

Photo: Eric Jerardi Band performs Saturday night

By Matt Clevenger

The city of Troy is gearing up for a bicycling-themed weekend, celebrating the arrival of an estimated 3,000 Tour de Donut bicyclists with the new Rock the Bike Music Festival this Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 16.

“After you’re done bicycling 30 miles, you’re likely going to be hungry and want to have a beer and listen to some music,” festival co-chairman, Will Harrelson, says. “So we wanted to make this a big giant weekend for all of those visitors, and throw a party for all of our local residents and people of the Miami Valley as well.”

Troy’s downtown square will be closed off for the free festival, which features two days of live music and other entertainment, food and beer vendors, sidewalk sales, a WACO fly-in, kayaking on the Great Miami River, and other family-friendly activities.

“The entire square will be closed off, and we’ll have our stage on West Main Street,” Harrelson says. “There are events from Friday afternoon all the way through Sunday afternoon that different organizations are putting together; other bike rides, lunch rides, there will be kayaking on the river. So we wanted to do something that all of these visitors would enjoy.”

Free shuttle rides will also be available, taking visitors from downtown to Indian Creek Distillery for tours and WACO airfield, which is hosting a fly-in. “We partnered with the county to offer free shuttle rides,” Harrelson explains. “Rock the Bike Music Festival is the downtown music and beer festival, but part of what we’re doing is we’re going to be offering shuttle rides from the festival to Indian Creek Distillery near Tipp City, and also we’re giving free shuttle rides to WACO airfield because they are having a fly-in that weekend.”

The festival’s music line-up will be a mix of well-known local and regional acts, featuring Cory Breath and The Floorwalkers on Friday, and Ashley Martin, The Seventh Street Band, The Fries Band, and the Eric Jerardi Band on Saturday. The Columbus Zoo will also present a show before musical performances start on Saturday morning.

“Music starts at 5:45 and ends at 9 p.m. on Friday,” Harrelson says. “Then Saturday music starts at 12:15 and ends at 10 p.m., but before the music begins on Saturday, we’re having the Columbus Zoo do an animal show for kids at 10:30 in the morning. That will be on the stage and that’s the first entertainment before the music begins.”

Local businesses will host sidewalk sales, and food and beer vendors will also be downtown for the festival. “There will be a couple of beer trailers, and we are curating a list of both favorites and some craft beers that are appropriate for the season and for bicycling,” Harrelson says. “Fat Tire New Belgium is one of our sponsors, so we’ll be featuring bike-friendly beers.”

In many ways, the Rock the Bike festival has been designed to try and duplicate the success of the highly-popular Gentlemen of the Road (GOTR) tour, which came through Troy in 2013. “When we had the GOTR tour here in Troy with Mumford and Sons, part of that was a street festival with multiple stages and local and regional bands that performed during the day and at night. So many people in town enjoyed that part of the GOTR event; they wanted us to do that again sometime. So when the Tour de Donut announced that they were coming to town and we had the opportunity to put on this festival, we thought that we should go back and see if we could get any of the performers from the GOTR festival because everyone loved them. So we went back to that list and tried to bring back some crowd favorites.”

The Rock the Bike festival is also being planned as a replacement for the annual Taste of Troy event that was held downtown. “We’re not doing the Taste of Troy anymore,” Harrelson says. “This is replacing it. The Taste of Troy event was around the same time of year, and when the Tour de Donut announced that it was coming to Troy we took it as an opportunity to grow what was the Taste of Troy, into something a little bit bigger, and something new.”

Organizers plan to continue the Rock the Bike festival annually, at least as long as the Tour de Donut continues to be held in Troy. “Because it’s the first year of a new event, we really don’t have a lot of expectations,” Harrelson explains. “We do plan to, as long as the Tour de Donut bicycle race is that same weekend, we’re going to program around that.”

“Everyone can throw a food and beer festival,” he says, “but in Troy, we’ve been spending a lot of time developing the riverfront and the bike path system, so part of having the Tour de Donut bicycle race in town and throwing this festival is to really celebrate outdoor recreation, and the recreation assets that we have in the area. We have a great bike path network in the Miami Valley and we have a great riverfront, so part of the focus is to celebrate all of these outdoor activities that we can do around here. That’s something that’s unique.”

The Rock the Bike Music Festival will be held Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 16 on the square in downtown Troy. Admission is free. More information can be found online at or

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Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at

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