Tenth annual Dayton Music Fest spotlights local bands

By: Katie Christoff – A&E Editor

Ten years ago, Dayton Music Fest was born to showcase the emerging music scene in Dayton. This year’s event will take place Friday, Oct. 3 and Saturday, Oct. 4 with 29 bands playing at six different venues throughout the area.

Local musicians Kyle Melton and Don Thrasher, now in their fifth year of curating the event, hope to use this weekend to shine the spotlight on the local bands that play at clubs downtown all year long.

“The point that we try to make is that this happens every weekend,” Melton said. “If you go to the Oregon District on any Friday or Saturday night, there’s a really good chance for just five bucks you’re going to come across at least one band that you love. There’s a lot of really good talent growing here in Dayton.”

To kick off the weekend, four bands will play at the Old Yellow Cab building Friday night. On Saturday, bands will play from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. at the Midwest Outdoor Experience at Five Rivers Metropark. This is another annual event in Dayton that features kayaking, BMX biking, slacklining and family-friendly activities.

“They’ve asked us to do the soundtrack for it for the last three years, and it’s a good partnership,” Melton said. “It gets the bands that we’re trying to promote out in front of huge audiences.”

“It’s a potentially different audience too, because those aren’t necessarily the same people who are going out to clubs to check out the live local music,” Thrasher said. “That’s what we’re about, promoting original music in Dayton and letting people know what’s going on.”

After the Midwest Outdoor Experience, the party will move back to the bars in the Oregon District. Bands will play at four different venues: Blind Bob’s, Tumbleweed Connection, Oregon Express and Trolley Stop. All of the concerts at these venues will be for audiences 21 and up.

To choose the bands that play each year, Melton and Thrasher allow open submissions on the Dayton Music Fest website. They examine the submissions and look at what bands have been particularly active or put new music out in any given year.

“We also try to really reflect the eclecticism that is the Dayton music scene, because it’s not any one thing,” Melton said. “Here on the ground level there’s some interesting stuff going on. We’ve got folk, bluegrass, punk, pop, synth, singer-songwriters… It’s all over the map.”

They don’t exclusively choose bands from Dayton, either. The festival will also feature bands from Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio and even Texas, according to Melton, but they try to place the main focus on bands with ties to Dayton.

Melton and Thrasher encourage UD students to check out the local music scene at Dayton Music Fest, especially since many students come from elsewhere.

“We not only want [UD students] to find out about the great music in Dayton, but we want them to find out about all the cool stuff going on in Dayton,” Thrasher said. “So when they graduate if they’re offered a job here, they might at least consider it instead of going back to where they’re from. Selfishly, as Daytonians we want to bring new blood into the city. It’s important to all of us, not only as music fans but as citizens of the city. We want fresh, smart blood, especially from outside the area.”

The festival is even affordable for a college student’s budget. A wristband for Dayton Music Fest costs only $10 and will get you into any venue all weekend.

There will also be a Dayton Music Fest mobile app available through the website that will take users directly to participating bands’ websites to learn more before choosing which venue to spend time at.

For more information, a full schedule of the weekend and Q&A’s with participating bands, visit daytonmusicfest.com.