GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio - The summer heat is on, and the biggest grassroots music festival in the Buckeye State is turning up the heat as well.
Anticipation for Shamy Bash 2011 has been building for months now. The ever-growing music festival will take place July 28-31 at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville, Ohio.
This year's musical extravaganza will bring the likes of renown guitar virtuoso Buckethead, Grammy Award Winning hip-hop group Arrested Development, and an array of spectacular up-and-coming and veteran acts based throughout Ohio and the Midwestern U.S.
Skyrocketing Ohio-grown artists like The Werks and Rumpke Mountain Boys will be returning to the festival this year, as will fellow veteran Shamy Bash favorites Mike Perkins, Boogie Matrix Mechanism, Bell Acoustic, Romeo Champagne and Lyle.
"We're really excited to work with the national acts, but we can't stress how proud and excited we are of the groups we've been working with for three, four or five years now," said promoter and festival namesake Jason Shamy.
Also this year will be the return of bass guitar master Freekbass and his new project Freekbot, as well as The Macpodz, Jones for Revival, Blue Moon Soup, Daniel Isaac, Religion of Love, Tropidelic and more. Acts with Ohio Valley roots will also be performing at this year's Shamy Bash, including Tommy Garcia and songwriter, performer and festival-scene legend Smilin' Joe.
Schedule of shows at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park
- Summer Hookah Weekend, July 22-24, two nights of ekoostik hookah, Carlos Jones, the John Mullins Band, Smilin' Joe, Groovestone Fusion, Sultans of Bing, ChrisB and more.
- Shamy Bash, July 28-31, featuring Buckethead, Arrested Development, The Werks, Freekbot featuring Freekbass and DJ Tobotius, The Macpodz, Mike Perkins, Boogie Matrix Mechanism, Jones for Revival, Romeo Champagne, Tropidelic, Blue Moon Soup, Smilin' Joe, Tommy Garcia, Lyle, Religion of Love and more.
- Midwest Regae Fest, Aug. 12-14, 20th year celebration featuring Etana, Yellowman, Bushman, The Abyssinians, The Meditations, The Mighty Diamonds, Carlos Jones & The P.L.U.S. Band, Kenyatta "Culture" Hill, Marty Dread, Taj Weekes, Blue Riddim Band, The Flex Crew, Rasta Rafiki, DJ Carlos Culture, Roots High Power Sound System, Jah Messengers and more.
- Lazy Daisy Festival, Aug. 20, with JiMiller Band, Jones for Revival and Rsty Haywackers.
- Summerdance, Aug. 26-28, featuring two nights with Lotus, Big Gigantic and more.
- Garden Grove Badfish Weekend, Sept. 23-25, featuring the music of Sublime by Badfish, also the Waterband, Champion Bubblers, Full Service, Tropidelic, Shrub and more.
- Gory at the Quarry, Oct. 28-30, Halloween festival featuring two nights of ekoostik hookah and much more.
Locally born traveling freak show The Amazing Eight-Legged Cat will also be on hand, as will the cat's house band, Emily and the Lost Cat Ramblers.
"The Eight-Legged Cat thing is so bizarre," said Shammy. "I'm letting those guys loose at Shamy Bash. And of course, Smilin' Joe is a living hippie icon."
An eclectic mix of great music, friendly people and loads of fun have always been a hallmark of Shamy Bash.
The annual summer festival's history stems back to 1997 when Shamy was a student at the University of Toledo. Then called "Summer Bash," the first gathering was basically a big party with live music by local bands. It was big enough and popular enough to bring back in subsequent years, growing in size each year and eventually being coined by attendees as Shamy Bash - a name that has stuck ever since.
After seeing the success of holding the bash on multiple days, Shamy and his fellow organizers decided to go public with the event, opening the party to the masses and bringing in bands from near and far. Thus, VCR Productions LLC - the organization that puts on Shamy Bash each year - was born. Today, Shamy, Kevin Serres and Dave Hemmert spearhead the partnership that drives VCR Productions LLC.
Shamy Bash began to grow by leaps and bounds when it was held each year from 2006 to 2009 at legendary Frontier Ranch, located off Interstate 70 east of Columbus. As the name recognition grew, word spread about the event, which continued to earn a solid reputation as one of the best summer music festivals in Ohio.
Last year, Shamy Bash relocated once again - this time to picturesque Nelson Ledges Quarry Park - Ohio's premier concert and camping venue, complete with a lifeguard-manned lake where visitors come daily for swimming, sun bathing and cliff diving. Nelson Ledges boasts wooded acres of shady campsites, play areas for children, a fishing pond and many amenities that make it one of the most popular weekend destinations in the region.
When a summer heat wave beats down, there's no place better than NLQP to enjoy a music festival, Shamy noted.
"The fact that we have water at a summer music festival is amazing," he said. "Before we were at the Ledges, we'd have to stand around squirting people with a water hose to keep them from passing out. So having water and a lot of shade at a music festival really enhances the experience, especially in the summer."
Nelson Ledges Quarry Park hosts more than a dozen music festival weekends each summer, and this year, Shamy Bash promises to be one of the biggest and best. In fact, Shamy Bash continues to grow to the point where instead of working to recruit bands for the lineup, organizers have to pick and chose from a list of bands that scramble and compete for a spot on the bill.
"Where we're at today is where we envisioned we'd be six years after making it a public event, except now we're here and it feels like we're making a real positive impact on the scene," said Shamy. "We've got five really great events under our belt, so our return patrons are coming back and bringing new people, because they know it's a safe bet. Now we're getting some name recognition and interest from across the country, and that's a pretty wild feeling.
"Will it get bigger? Yeah - every year, I hope. I would love to have 20,000 people at Shamy Bash some day. What an experience that would be."
Ayres can be reached at email@example.com.