Shelton to rock with June 9-10 music festival

March 18, 2018 GMT

SHELTON-Its called the Riverfront Music Revival.

And its hoping to pick up where Soupstock is and where the Gathering of the Vibes was.

Derek Signor, publisher of Sound Magazine and Nicole Heriot are promoting this new two-day music and arts festival in the Veteran’s Memorial Park on June 9 and 10.

“We’ve got 20 bands from all genres, two stages and a lot of family fun,” said Heriot, who with Signor promote Soupstock, which was their annual summer event here.

But they’ve determined June’s heat isn’t conducive to hot soup or a chili cook-off so they moved Soupstock IX to Sept. 29 and 30 at the same site.

“Soupstock is more of a jam band festival,” Signore said. “We wanted to do something different for the summer.”

For Riverfront they’ve lined up Creamery Station as the opening act on noon June 9 and Ripe to close it. On June 10 Fattie Roots, a reggae tribute band will start the day and Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution willl close it with the New Orleans style beat.

In addition to the bands there will be a family fun area with a moon bounce and drum circle; a wellness tent offering massages, chiropractic care and essential oils; an arts and crafts area and nearly a dozen food trucks. There also will be Piece of Mind Tent with poetry reading, writing workshops and more.

Signore and Heriot also promote the Blues Views and BBQ Festival in Westport during the Labor Day weekend and the Connecticut Folk Festival and Green Expo on Edgerton Park in New Haven. And they are working on a Newtown festival to benefit the Sandy Hook Foundation.

Why Shelton?

“There’s two stages there and a beautiful view overlooking the city,” he said. “It’s very centralized. We have parking downtown and just across the bridge in Derby and a scenic field. I just fell in love with the property.”

Additionally he commended city hall and Mayor Mark Lauretti for being so supportive.

But unlike the Vibes, Riverfront will have no overnight camping..

Additionally beverages, coolers, tents, canopies, glass bottles, illegal drugs and weapons are a no. The promoters reserve the right to check bags.

One band that is no stranger to Shelton, Alpaca Gnomes will take the stage probably late afternoon on June 9.

“We love playing Shelton,” said Benny Mikula, whose band has performed at Soupstock as well as the summer Downtown Sounds and the Huntington Green concerts. “We have a nice following here”

Shelton’s Joe Ballaro replaces Martin Van Buren Amidon, IX, on bass. Amidon was killed last April in a Newtown motorcycle crash.

“We have a new album coming out in late spring entitled “IX,” said Mikula, who plays acoustic guitar and sings. “It’s a tribute to Marty. Actually every performance we do is a tribute to Marty.”

Mikula said they’ll be performing their new songs including “Together We Can,” which has a reggae beat to it as well as old favorites and cover songs.

As for the 20-band lineup, he said it presents a good mixture from different genres.

“You’ll see people coming to hear their favorite bands and others coming with an open mind to hear all the bands,” Mikula said.

Tickets are $20 for both days if purchased before April 1, after that its $15 a day if purchased in advance. Prices will be higher at the gate.

But if the price matters Ansonia, Derby, Shelton and Huntington usually offer free summer concerts with one performer one night a week in their downtown. The Hamden Arts Commission fills Town Center Park on Dixwell Avenue with four headline acts each July Friday.

And on July 28, Joe Shapiro, a Sheltonite and owner of Banko’s in Ansonia is conducting the first Rock the Summer for Music Education at Nolan Field beginning at 5 p.m. The free concert will offer three performers.

“All this is good for the Valley,” said Rich DiCarlo, president of the Valley Arts Council. “Each event draws its own audience.”

He said the weekly downtown free concerts bring out a mostly older crowd who “likes their country, polkas, rhythm and blues and Italian and Sinatra classics. The latter is often sung by Ansonia’s Mark Lanzieri.

DiCarlo believes the two-day festivals try to draw on the 20-year run of the Gathering of the Vibes at Bridgeport’s Seaside Park which folded that tent in 2015.

“These are all valiant efforts trying to recapture the glory days...some work real good, some don’t,” DiCarlo said. “Often the weather plays an important role...I do hope this works out.”

The Riverfront lineup also includes Big Takeover, Gangsta-Grass, Haunting Titans and Kat Wright. Also, James Darling & the Nuclear Heartbreak, Jay Russell & the Split Coils, Jay and Ray Kids Hour, Jen Durkin and the Business and Joon. Also Laini & the Wildfire, Mates of State, Nardy Boy, One Time Weekend, Pat Stone and the Dirty boots and Southern Belles.

“The lineup is so unique,” said Heron, who is co-promoting Riverfront.

Some of the proceeds will benefit End Hunger Connecticut.

“Partnering on events like the Riverfront Music Revival not only brings much needed support to further our impact, but also increases awareness about hunger while engaging more people in this critical fight,” said Shannon Yearwood, End Hunger Connecticut’s executive director.

And Signore doesn’t expect people to be rushing home after each day’s concert.

“Once the festival’s over they’ll frequent the local restaurants,” he said.