Lebanon’s Stompin’ in the Street festival returns

By Joyell Nevins

Don your cowboy hat, pull on your cowgirl boots and boogie down to Lebanon, Ohio, this weekend for its annual “Stompin’ in the Street” country music festival Saturday, June 11.

“Country music is a good genre for Lebanon,” says Jo Wise, Main Street Lebanon executive director. Wise is working with Rotary Event Chairman (and neighbor) Scott Brunka and a host of volunteers to put the show on.

There are a lot of 4-H, farms and good people in the town known for its civic pride and rich heritage. Although several streets are blocked off to traffic for the festival, the shops, museums and restaurants all stay open to welcome the influx of tourists and music-lovers. And what an influx it is – Stompin’ in the Street has attracted up to 10,000 people for the one-day event. Not bad for a town of only 20,000!
But despite the huge crowds, there will be room to truly stomp in the street and beer garden. Wise says this year’s logistics have been expanded to make space for grooving to the music.
“Country music folks want to dance,” Wise emphasizes to her crew.
The family-friendly event makes sure there’s plenty for kids, as well. Wise says this year the kids zone area is expanding beyond stationary fun like inflatables and crafts to contests such as “mom calling,” rooster calling and watermelon seed spitting. There will even be a Lil Cowboy and Lil Cowgirl contest and cool critters nature show.
“It’s a great day to bring your whole family,” Wise says. “The whole event is very light-hearted.”
The music festival started four years ago as a joint fundraiser for Main Street Lebanon and Rotary. Last year, it brought in $10,000 for each group.
“It helps to sustain Main Street, and everything the Rotary does goes back to the kids and the community,” Wise continues.

Who’s on deck?

This year, Stompin’ in the Street will feature two stages with seven bands, all from Ohio. They were found through a hired talent scout, though Wise remembers the first few years when she had to travel around and check out all the bands herself.

The day kicks off with Sugar Creek Bluegrass from central Ohio. This young family of siblings performs traditional bluegrass, old time and gospel music. Emily plays banjo, Cody’s on fiddle, Zac strums the mandolin, Molly plays bass, Matt plays guitar, and young Ben pulls out the washboard. Despite their age, these seasoned performers have traveled to several states to perform in shows with names such as Dailey & Vincent and Joe Mullins and have already recorded three albums.

Haggard County is a more modern country band, but with plenty of guitar riffs and twang. The group of friends is comprised of Rob Baker on vocals, Brandon Hasinger on guitar, Joe Alexander on drums and Eric Haddix on vocals and bass. Hear music samples on their Haggard County Facebook page.

Enjoy cool country covers with Throw It Down, whose song catalog includes more than 100 songs from classic rock to modern and classic country. The band is made up of Kyle Lemaster on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, John Ritchie on drums and vocals, John Rudy and Brian Gilliam on lead and rhythmic guitars, Nick Armstrong on bass and vocals and Mark Tesmer, who is also lead guitar with the Hurricane Jane Band.

Artist Heather Roush from Cincinnati will also be making an appearance. Roush studied musical theatre in college, but then decided to pursue her country dream and cut her first CD in Nashville. She now frontlines The Heather Roush Band.

Feminine influences continue with Ky Myle, a band out of southern Ohio that specializes in country and blues. Pam Kelly sings lead vocals along with strumming the mandolin. She’s joined by lead vocalist and guitarist Rick Kinman, drummer Jason Coulter, bassist Dave Jackson, violinist Lauren Schloemer and Gary Trego on steel guitar.

The Phillip Fox Band calls their sound “country-fried rock and roll” (think Kid Rock in his country groove). The Columbus all-male band is proud of their “classic approach” to their music and career, prizing crafted arrangements, vocal harmonies and high-energy shows over social media blitz (although you can hear many of their covers through #BeardBackerCover on YouTube).

The music festival ends with 90 Proof Twang, which was awarded “Best County Music Band” in 2015 by City Beat Magazine. The band from Oxford describes their recipe of music as if they combined “Marshal Tucker, Lynyrd Skynryd, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash in a bowl, added a little Eric Church and Zac Brown, mixed it and baked it with a modern hippie vibe, you would produce 90 Proof Twang.”

Stompin’ in the Street goes from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in downtown Lebanon, near 2 N. Broadway St. Parking is open in and around the city streets, certain areas and local business and churches. For more information, please visit lebanoncountrymusicfest.wordpress.com.
Joyell believes in the power of the written word, a good cup of coffee, and sometimes, the need for a hug (please, no Tommy Boy references). Follow her on her blog “Small World, Big God” at swbgblog.wordpress.com or reach her at joyellnevins@daytoncitypaper.com.

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Joyell believes in the power of the written word, a good cup of coffee, and sometimes, the need for a hug (please, no Tommy Boy references). Follow her on her blog “Small World, Big God” at swbgblog.wordpress.com or reach her at joyellnevins@daytoncitypaper.com

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