By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)
The inaugural WayoFest is set rock Dave Grohl Alley in Warren, Ohio on July 11. Boasting over 20 of the area’s heaviest hitters, the all-day music festival is free, and places heavy emphasis on the revitalization and emerging art scene of downtown Warren. The festival will feature area mainstays Kitchen Knife Conspiracy, Zero.Set.Memory and Two Days Until Tomorrow, as well as some of the area’s brightest rising stars such as The Spectral Type, Panty Droppin’ Rock Brigade and Shaving Lincoln, as well as a special performance from the ladies of Infini-Tribe.
WayoFest, which refers to the Warren-Youngstown Festival, is the product of local DJ, entrepreneur and promoter Brandyn Petrick. Petrick is the founder of both Chaos Culture Entertainment and the soon-to-be-launched Domination Radio Network. He said that his love for music and counterculture served as the primary inspiration and motivation to organize this grand of a festival.
“Its been a long road. This festival was an idea that I had four years ago, inspired by an actress from Pittsburgh that I was dating. We talked about how cool it would be to blend the idea of a huge music festival and a horror convention and that was what the initial idea was and that became MacabreFest, which has now been changed to Wayofest,” said Petrick.
After deciding on Dave Grohl Alley as a location, Petrick decided to expand his vision to something with a more universal appeal.
“Even with the name change and a shift to a more family-friendly environment, I still want it to have that circus and carnival sort of feel to it. Something I can bring my seven-year-old son to and he won’t be bored out of his mind. So it’s more than just a music festival, it’s an all encompassing festival that brings together all aspects of arts and entertainment in Northeastern, Ohio,” said Petrick.
Petrick noted that through his own personal suffering, he chose to shift his focus onto something creative that has the potential to benefit not only the local art and music scene, but the entire community.
“A Little known fact about me is that I spent a good amount of time suffering from anxiety and depression, even though I tried to hide it most of the time, every once in a while it would sneak out. I’m a firm believer that anxiety and depression can be handled by doing something that you love that takes your mind off of the things that bring you down and that’s exactly what this festival has done for me, its my therapy. Chaos Culture Entertainment has recently partnered up with the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County to create a cultural hub in Warren. It’s common knowledge that Warren is fast becoming a crime ridden city and the Police are trying their hardest to clean up the streets and we figure that this is the best time to make downtown Warren to place to be for arts and entertainment,” explained Petrick.
As a 20-year veteran of the local/regional scene, Petrick has witnessed the rise and fall of many trends and sub-scenes within the area. He noted the selection of artists on this bill was a very significant factor in making WayoFest a unique experience.
“The Hellfire Club from Akron are lesser known in this area but they’re music veterans whose singer and drummer have played internationally for our troops, doing USO shows; Slap ‘n’ Tickle is a great Blues Rock band from Cleveland who’ve done countless national openers; and S.E.T. Movement is a fairly new Hip-Hop group from Cleveland. Then you have some local Youngstown staples such as Kitchen Knife Conspiracy who have been together for nearly 20 years now, as well as [contemporaries] Woodside Manor, Mettal Maffia, Baroque Monody, and The Spectral Type who are all great bands who put on fantastic shows,” Petrick said.
Aside from Petrick, a number of artists on the bill are very excited to be taking part in this year’s event for a number of reasons. Members of Zero.Set.Memory, Panty Droppin’ Rock Brigade and The Spectral type all weighed in on how WayoFest will benefit the music scene and what they’re most excited for on July 11.
“It helps that there are other options out there for bands and fans to participate in. Having a festival like this in a new location will help rejuvenate the scene, both for the performers and for the fans of local music and the community. I feel that WayoFest is going to be a great thing for the city of Warren and for the scene, especially for future WayoFests,” said Josh Allen, drummer for The Spectral Type.
“Have you seen that there is a blacksmith there? Look at the diversity. On top of that it’s one of the first times I’ve seen so many locals pull together for something this big,” added Zero.Set.Memory frontman Cody Skeen.
They are also happy to note that emphasis will be put on the scene as a whole, rather than a slew of artists and promoters competing for dominance.
“WayoFest will bring a lot of new camaraderie to groups of people who otherwise might never get to be in the same place at the same time. Making new friendships that, with all hopes, will inspire lots of new future shows, new fans and more new friends. The collaboration will be well worth the time and energy spent to help get WayoFest off the ground,” said Panty Droppin’ Rock Brigade manager Cecilia Walsh.
“WayoFest is giving the locals in our area an opportunity to not only play, but all come together for one cause: The music. Fans will benefit by being able to see all their favorites in one spot on one day and bands get to expose themselves to new people. And of course most importantly, everyone can celebrate their love of music and the people that make it,” added Skeen.
Not to mention that they are excited to share the stage with so many peers, some of which they have yet to do so. Skeen and Allen both noted specifically who they’re most excited for.
“Woodside Manor, Panty Dropping Rock Brigade, Shaving Lincoln. It’s hard to pick one. There are so many awesome locals it’s mind-numbing,” said Skeen.
“We’re honestly looking forward to all of the bands on the bill. We like to support local music as often as we can. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for a band to get to a place where they’re ready to perform in front of a live audience. Some people who have never been in a band sometimes don’t realize much effort goes into writing new music and what it takes to get up on stage and perform. It’s an intimate process, to share your music with others, and when you’re about to open yourselves up to an audience, it’s really sometimes quite nerve-racking. So, this is why we look forward to seeing ALL of the bands on the bill,” finished Allen.
Petrick indicated that WayoFest is merely a small key piece to the larger puzzle that is the revitalization of downtown Warren.
“We have numerous big events planned to represent this revitalization and Wayofest, which will be combined with the art hop, which is artists set up all over the city creating projects, will be our yearly big event. And there will be a trolley to take people from one stop to the next with Wayofest being a huge part of this event,” said Petrick.
Finally, in regard to the future of WayoFest, Petrick is optimistic and plans to gradually expand the annual event into something even more involving and encompassing.
“Initially I had the idea of making Wayo more like Rock On The Range where it’s just a weekend-long party with great music all weekend long. But as time has gone on, I’ve thought that while that is great, I think Wayofest would benefit people more if it were modeled more like South by Southwest. You have the local bars that will benefit from the business, you have several indoor and outdoor stages, and we can tie in the Amp and The Robbins Theater and it’ll all be free. We also plan on bringing in national acts and mixing things up with national and local acts and also diversifying the lineup more as well. I’m all about uniting people for one common cause and that’s entertainment. I want people to travel from out of town just to see this festival, and I want people to come to Warren for the entertainment value,” finished Petrick.
WayoFest kicks of at 12 p.m. in Dave Grohl Alley on July 11 with two stages and live entertainment continuing through midnight.