Vox Populi

WYSO Community Concert returns to Riverscape MetroPark

Photo: The Claudettes (above) will appear at the WYSO Community Concert

By Matt Clevenger

Labor Day is almost here, and that means it’s also time for another late-summer tradition; the WYSO Community Concert at Riverscape MetroPark.

“We always do it the Sunday after Labor Day,” WYSO development director Luke Dennis says. “All the staff will be there, and many of our volunteer hosts. Todd Widener, Rev Cool, Juliet Fromholt, Neenah Ellis, Niki Dakota; it’s pretty much all hands on deck. Niki is the MC for the event.”

This year’s concert will run from 6 pm to 9 pm on Sunday, September 10, and features local jam band Zane + the Sway and Chicago-based piano-blues/rockabilly act The Claudettes along with headliner The Almighty Get Down from Cincinnati. As always, the concert is free and open to all.

“We wanted to do a thank you to the community for supporting us,” Dennis says, “so we decided to start hosting a free major concert that was family friendly, with a good mix of local and national bands that you can dance to. That was the idea.”

“Radio is such a faceless medium,” Dennis says. “We don’t get to see and interact with our listeners the way we would like, so having events in Dayton allows us to do that.”

This year’s musical line-up is a mix of local and national talent, and acts are all WYSO favorites that listeners will recognize from both radio show appearances and the station’s regular rotation.

“We’re proud of the bands,” Dennis says. “The opener Zane + the Sway is a really good, local Dayton-based jam band. It’s a big band; they have a sax. Second on the bill is The Claudettes, from Chicago. Niki Dakota loves them; they’ve played on her show a couple of times when they tour through Ohio. They used to be just a piano player and a drummer and killed it, but they’ve added a bass player and a vocalist, so their sound has changed a little bit.”

“The headliner is The Almighty Get Down from Cincinnati, which is like a big party band with a horn section,” he says. “These are all bands that Niki knows; she’s either had them on her show or done interviews with them.”

Sponsors for this year’s concert include the Rotary Club of Dayton, Wagner Subaru, United Rehabilitation Services, and Yellow Springs Brewery, which will also be offering a special WYSO-inspired beer called Vox Populi during the concert.

“Yellow Springs Brewery is a big part of the celebration every year,” Dennis says. “They brew a beer inspired by WYSO; it’s good, if you haven’t tried it. It’s an American pale ale called Vox Populi, which is Latin for “voice of the people,” which is what we try to be at WYSO.”

“In addition to the Rotary Club of Dayton, Wagoner Subaru is awesome; they sponsor it every year,” Dennis says. “This year we also have a new sponsor, United Rehabilitation Services.”

For the second year in a row, the community concert will also coincide with the annual Miami Valley PeaceBuilders Walk, and a one-day PeaceBuilders Village that will be held under the Riverscape awning before the concert starts. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Dayton and the 21 Century Peace Literacy Foundation, the PeaceBuilders Walk and the PeaceBuilders Village will be held from 4pm-6pm, ending just before the community concert starts.

“The PeaceBuilders Walk celebrates local peace heroes; people who through their actions or through their work or their art, demonstrate or model ways of living peacefully,” Dennis says. “People who work with young people to give them the tools to resolve things peacefully; people who do international work in that area.”

“The PeaceBuilders Village will begin and end under the awning,” he says, “and then hopefully once people come back from the walk route, they will stay for the concert.”

Several local peace organizations will be hosting booths for the Peace Village and food trucks, including Pa’s Pork and Wicked ‘Wich of Dayton, will also be on hand.

An estimated 1,500-2,000 people usually attend the community concert, which has been held at Riverscape MetroPark for the past several years. “It’s family-friendly,” Dennis says. “A lot of people bring their kids. Bring a lawn chair; come out and have fun, meet some WYSO staff.”

“We attend a lot of other people’s events, like just this past weekend we were at Art on the Commons at Fraze Pavillion,” he says. “But we just had a small table there; it wasn’t our event. This is one of the few times per year that we host an event. The only other big one is when we rent out Memorial Hall and do an April Fools-themed party every year. But that one you have to buy a ticket; this one is free and open to anyone.”

The WYSO community concert will be held Sunday, September 10 from 6-9pm at Riverscape MetroPark, 237 E. Monument Avenue in Dayton. Admission is free. More information can be found online at www.MetroParks.org or www.WYSO.org.Reach

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Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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