Dayton Driven

Dayton Music Fest returns for year ten

By Janell R. Ward

Photo: Dumbell performs at the 2013 Dayton Music Fest; pictured: Paul Grace Smith and Jamy Holliday

Get ready for a weekend of outrageous music overload happening Oct. 3 and 4, at the 10-year anniversary of the Dayton Music Fest! The Friday night kickoff event will be held at The “Old” Yellow Cab Building, on East Fourth Street at 7 p.m. Dead Rider, who released their latest album, Chills on Glass, in spring 2014, will headline and tune your ears for the weekend to follow.

Also featured on Friday night will be Kris N., Smug Brothers and Swim Diver.

“We are excited that it is the tenth year,” Don Thrasher, who plays as a drummer in the band Smug Brothers and is one of the organizers for the Dayton Music Fest, said. “We have had support from the local bars, bands and fans. This is a homecoming for a lot of people.”

In the beginning…

For thousands of years, music has been used as a form of ceremony, beauty and entertainment. Whether you enjoy experimental rock, contemporary jazz or acoustic blues, the fondness of musical composition touches all of us in a personal and intimate way. Dayton has an historical role in showcasing musical originality and talent. In 2004, Dayton Music Fest founders Andy Ingram, Dan Clayton and Shawn Johnson endeavored to showcase the musical talent emerging from Dayton, Ohio. “Dayton doesn’t have a sound; it is focused on many styles of music,” Thrasher said, “We present homegrown music, but it has a scope bigger than just here. The talent we have here in Dayton blows away other towns by far.”

Kyle Melton, who has been involved organizing Dayton Music Fest since 2010, expanded on the history surrounding the music scene in Dayton: “Historically, Dayton has always had great original music, going all the way back to ’50s bluegrass and ’70s funk,” Melton said. “Original music is what Dayton does; it is ingrained here.”

Afternoon jangle

The lively weekend will continue with good food, family fun and awesome local music on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m.–8 p.m., with a stage at Five Rivers MetroParks’ Midwest Outdoor Experience.

In 2012, Tom Helbig from Five Rivers MetroPark approached Thrasher and Melton about scheduling a few bands to play at an event; the participation of the Dayton Music Fest has spiraled into a magnificent nine hours of music playing this year at The Midwest Outdoor Experience. Find yourself eating a pulled-pork sandwich and relaxing on a blanket while you listen to these amazing bands being featured in Eastwood MetroPark, 1385 Harshman Road.

The Midwest Outdoor Experience is one of the largest festivals in the Midwest; it celebrates the outdoor lifestyle and offers a fun weekend with food, craft beer gardens and outdoor events such as biking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and much more. “There will be thousands of people there,” Thrasher said.

Saturday night, live

The Saturday spectacular does not end at the park. Do you want to hear 10 bands in one night? Dayton Music Fest makes that a possibility! Head down to the Oregon District at 9 p.m. where several bands will feature their unique work. Join the bustling crowd of music fans as you bounce to all the different venues. Feel the energy of everyone coming together to celebrate the burgeoning music seen in Dayton, Ohio. The support between the bands is authentic; in fact, you may find yourself rocking out to great music with a band who just played at the previous venue. This will be a great weekend of hearing new sounds, making new friends and establishing new connections.

“On any given night you can go pick some bands and you will hear something you like,” Melton said. “People will walk away fans of bands they hadn’t heard of.”

Several venues are hosting and participating in the Dayton Music Fest including Trolley Stop, Tumbleweed Connection, Blind Bob’s and Oregon Express. Four bands will play in each of the venues. Shows at Oregon Express and Trolley Stop will begin at 9 p.m., and Blind Bob’s and Tumbleweed Connection will start at 9:30 p.m. You can hear a new band play every half hour!

The popular rock ‘n’ roll band Manray will be opening at the Oregon Express on Saturday night. Catch Joey Beach on guitar and vocals, Alec Snead on bass and Matt Carey on the drums. “They are blowing everybody away,” Thrasher raved.

At 10 p.m. you can see Speaking Suns at Trolley Stop. The punk band, Shut Up, who recently released a two-disc album, You Will Be Happy Someday, will play at 10:30 p.m. at Tumbleweed Connection. Lab Partners, which introduced a new record, Seven Seas, in February, will also be playing this year; you can catch them at 11:30 p.m. at Blind Bob’s. Hometown heroes, Shrug, celebrates their 20th anniversary and will be showing off their skills on Saturday night as well at 11 p.m. at Trolley Stop. The evening will conclude with one of the hottest rock ‘n’ roll bands in town, Motel Beds. “They put on a heck of a live show and they have a new record out,” Thrasher said. “This will be a chance for people to get the Motel Beds’ magic.”

A band of brothers

Part of the intense remarkability of the Dayton Music Fest is the commitment bands show to the event. The gratitude for Dayton Music Fest has bands returning to team with them every year. One returning alumnus is The 1984 Draft. The band began in 2006, but has performed with its current lineup, including drummer Justin Satinover; guitarist Eli Alban; and singer/guitarist, Joe Anderl for two years. In addition to showcasing new music, The 1984 Draft will perform several songs from their previous albums, Return to Tallboy Mountain and Bo Jackson Up the Middle. “We have tried to always make the Music Fest a special show each year, be it adding members, including choirs or doing a different type of performance,” Anderl said. “Needless to say, we have a very special surprise this year that involves a lot people we really love in the Dayton music scene.”

You do not want to miss the catchy compositions of Oh Condor, who will also be featured this year at Tumbleweed Connection at 11:30 p.m. The group includes Shane Weber: Vocals, Guitars; Tim Krug: Vocals, Guitars, Synthesizers; Alan Baker: Vocals, Bass; and Jayson Hartings: Drums.

Oh Condor, previously recognized as 8-bit Revival, has played together for almost 10 years. Tim Krug noted the amazing family-like atmosphere that is encompassed by the Dayton music scene: “Dayton’s musicians are kind of like a big sprawling family,” Krug said. “Everyone is really supportive of each other. DMF is a great way to catch up with everybody and hopefully find a balance between supporting your favorite acts and hearing something new along the way.” Krug also admitted the continued support from fans is uplifting: “I can’t even describe the feeling of meeting someone who is excited about discovering your own music! It’s absolutely insane. Let’s all make connections.”

Energy and enthusiasm about this year’s DMF continues to be on the rise. Everyone is excited about the music fest, including Oregon Express booking agent Gretchen Kelly, who discovered the Dayton music scene at the Oregon Express when Enon was playing.

“All the tables and chairs had been removed from the back room to make space to accommodate the large crowd we were predicting,” Kelly remembered. “The place was packed! We ended up having a line waiting outside the door. I love the DMF. I think it does a wonderful job of showcasing each year some of the best music that Dayton has to offer. There is so much incredible talent in this town and it’s great to show it off. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of it.”

Get a band to hear the bands! For a $10 fee, you will receive a wristband that will give access to Friday night music extraordinaire, and all the evening events being showcased on Saturday night in the Oregon District. Wristbands will be sold the entire weekend at all the participating venues and at the Midwest Outdoor Experience. You can hear the bands at Eastwood MetroPark on Saturday for free; free parking is also available. Look for Dayton Music Fest volunteers.

The Dayton Music Fest will take place Friday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4. You can join them on Friday night at 7 p.m. at The “Old” Yellow Cab, Saturday from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. at Eastwood MetroPark, or Saturday night beginning at 9 p.m. in the Oregon District. Get the DMF mobile app, where you can rank and follow the bands with Q&A posts leading up the DMF. For more information on the Dayton Music Fest, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Janell R. Ward at

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