WRAPPING UP 2021!
Well, to be completely honest, we’re kind of glad this year is coming to an end! Not that there weren’t some high spots, but compared to the pre-pandemic world, it was still a rough year for us and many other musicians and people in the entertainment business.
Thinking back, we didn’t do the HOLIDAY REVIVAL show last year due to Covid. We were scheduled to do it virtually as part of the Out of the Box Concert Series put on by Music America, but ended up having to get a great young band called Apostle Jones, featuring Mikey Silas, to fill in for that date. Then, no gigs in January; nothing in February either. We had to cancel what would have been the 25th Anniversary of the legendary Reggae Brunch at the Parkview. At least we were able to broadcast an audio/video production of the 2020 Reggae Brunch that was recorded by our good friend, Brent Lane, with photo contributions from Mark Mindlin and Fred Llewellyn. It looks like we may have to do that again in 2022! Ugh…
No gigs in March. In April, we got back out to do a live stream at the Music Box, as the Out of the Box concert series continued through the spring of 2021. It’s always good to see Dawn Kendrick, who hosted the concert series and added her “Good Stuff” vibes to the show. She’s been with us this fall also and we expect she’s going to be a regular contributor to the reggae family moving forward.
No gigs in May, but we did record a performance for the Lakewood Alive concert series, which was aired in early June. Meanwhile, at least Ghani Harris was able to do some solo shows here and there to keep busy until the weather would break and outdoor shows could resume safely. So we finally jumped back into performing live at the Moreland Hills Elementary School, a show that we’ve done annually for the students for many years now. It was our first show with a live audience in 2021. June 1st. Think about that for a second! After that, we eased back into live performances with a show in Kent, Ohio at The Outpost, and then out to Lorain for a summer concert. However, some perennial shows like the Massillon Museum Island Party were still done virtually as we were all trying to find our way safely in this new world.
July saw us hitting it at a private campgrounds out near Ashtabula, and our lovely, energetic new Merch Rep, Felicia Henderson, came on board with us at that show. If you haven’t met Felicia yet, she is a sparkling diamond!! Please say hi to her at the next show. July 4th weekend we had a GREAT show at Whiskey Island, with old friends Outlaws I&I opening up the show. It was a hot one, but the spirits were high, if you know what we mean!! We then trekked out to Fairport Harbor for a new concert series being organized by good friend, Chris Pinta that also featured a great young reggae band out of Columbus, called The Quasi Kings. We also performed at the University Hts. Community concert in July, but earlier in July, we got the news that Papa Dave Smeltz had passed away from complications due to Covid. So we were proud to support the benefit show at the Beachland Ballroom & Tavern on July 25th in Dave’s honor. Finally, we ended July with an outdoor show in the Glenville neighborhood, always a good time.
August was like the “Community Center” tour, with shows at Harvard Community Center, Callis Community Center (Akron) and Jefferson Rocks West Park. We had a little momentum going, but then we had to cancel out on a big show at the Cuyahoga Falls Amphitheater due to a variety of reasons. Big props to The Ark Band, our Columbus label-mates, for filling in on that show, along with Big Ship, who opened the show. However, we ended August on a strong note with an incredible show at The Grove in Mayfield Village, and then out to Sherman, NY for our first appearance at the Heron Farm & Event Center, a beautiful campground that is known for their big annual music festival – The Great Blue Heron. They decided to cancel the big festival for 2021, but instead, do some smaller weekend shows and our debut went well enough that they want us back in 2022! Hope some of you can make the trek when we announce the date.
September saw us at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (which we usually had done earlier in the summer in previous years) and then we finished up a strong 2021 Reggae Sunday series at the Music Box, and the following week, performed at Reggae Fest, which was at a new venue this year – the Lago Veranda, overlooking Lake Erie. In 2022, Reggae Fest is moving again, this time to Voinovich Park, near the E. 9th St. Pier/Rock Hall. THAT should be epic! Another memorable show was our debut at the new Broadview Hts. Amphitheater – at least it was new to us! Very nice facility and a great crowd made for an enjoyable AND memorable evening.
In October, we made another debut appearance – this time at the West Side Bowl in Youngstown, Ohio. What a cool place! Bowling alleys are adjacent to the stage, so you can bowl and dance, or dance and bowl, or whatever…..but you’ll note that the sound system there is second to none! Acoustics are great too. We’ll be back there in May of 2022, so stay tuned. We also did another Halloween show this year at The Grog Shop, with a great band called Broccoli Samurai, and Dawn Kendrick was back in the loop for that one as well as for our November, post-Thanksgiving show at the Beachland Ballroom with Outlaws I&I. So as you can see, it was a year that started off slow, picked up some steam from June thru September, and then began to wind back down to where we’re at now, so join us as we give thanks for making it thru this crazy year in one piece, and winding down from the busy holiday season once again, to REVIVE ourselves as we get ready to do it again in 2022!