University Circle and Cleveland Foundation bring new live music series and festival to Uptown district
Posted September 09, 2016 in Articles
Author: Laura DeMarco
The Cleveland Foundation and University Circle are banding together to bring the Uptown district alive with the sound of music this fall. Uptown in University Circle will be home to a new music series and festival beginning Saturday, Aug. 27.
On Monday, the foundation announced a $50,000 grant to support Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights, a partnership between University Circle Inc., Case Western Reserve University and Roots of American Music (ROAM) to host a free live music series throughout Uptown on Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight in fall 2016.
"I traveled to New Orleans and Nashville and saw all the live music going on there," says Ronn Richard, president and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. "I thought, 'Why can't we do that here?' Cleveland is a music town, but there's more beyond Severance Hall and the Rock Hall. We want to help raise the profile of roots music in our area."
The music crawls will feature local musicians playing blues, jazz, gospel, hip- hop, traditional country, folk, Americana, bluegrass, zydeco and other genres in venues within walking distance of one another. These include the Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern, Ninja City, Trentina, the Barking Spider and other venues.
The series will culminate in RootsFest on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 14 and 15, on Toby's Plaza in front of Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art and the Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern. The fest will include two days of music, children's activities and family concerts, and documentary screenings at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Cinematheque of "A Well Spent Life," a tribute to blues singer and guitarist Mance Lipscomb and "The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins."
"One of the things I'm most excited about is we're bringing this live music to a neighborhood that has a history as a live music destination," says Chris Ronayne, president of University Circle Inc. "This area of University Circle has had Club Isabella and the Euc and the Barking Spider."
Historic clubs in the area included the Esquire Lounge, the Club 100, the Alhambra Lanes, Majestic Ballroom, the Circle and the Trianon.
"And now we have the venues in place to make it a live music destination again," says Ronayne. "We really want to take this opportunity to build on our history and create a live music neighborhood. It's in our bones."
Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights and RootsFest will be free and open to the public. They are also supported by Uptown property owners and No Depression magazine.
Kevin Richards, Executive Director of ROAM, is excited about what the concerts could do for his organization.
"I talked to Ronn Richard last summer about how we could use some help with getting the word out ... and eventually Sean Watterson of Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern got involved, and it led to this."
The Cleveland Foundation's Richard says the goal of the event is to raise the profile both of local roots musicians and the Uptown district, in which they have invested more than $12 million in development funds.
"We helped start this area, and now we want to help bring attention to it. This is about promoting the arts and economic development," says Richard. If this series is successful, he adds, it may serve as a pilot program for music series in other areas such as Tremont.
Aug. 27 Uptown Saturday Night Schedule (more performers may be added)
- ABC Uptown in University Circle – performer: Lost Bob & The Ozone Ramblers
- Barking Spider Tavern – performer: Electric Vision/Tom Shaper
- Corner Alley Uptown @ University Circle – performer: FlipSide
- Coquette Patisserie – performer: Eric Seddon Duo
- Roots Garden – performer: Down the Road
- Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern – performer: Rebekah Jean
- Ninja City Kitchen and Bar – performer: DJ Knyce
- Trentina – performer: George Foley
Additional Saturday and RootsFest peformers will be announced throughout the run of the series.
For more information on Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights:
For more information on Cleveland Foundation Uptown RootsFest: www.universitycircle.org/uptownrootsBack to News