EATON — The final preparations for the Eatonic Music Festival are being completed as 35 bands are set to take the stage at the Preble County Fairgrounds over the course of three days Labor Day weekend.
The festival will begin on Friday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m., with blues night followed by Buddy Guy taking center stage at 9:30 p.m. Guy is a six-time Grammy Award-winning member of the of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Saturday, Sept. 5, will feature rock bands from 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday, with The All Mighty Get Down being the featured band.
Sunday Sept. 6, will feature bluegrass and Americana music with the Rumpke Mountain Boys being the featured band. Local favorite The Worley Boys will also play prior to the Rumpke Mountain Boys.
Event organizer Manfred Schreyer said even though the concert features major headliners, the other bands are not just filler bands but outstanding acts on their own. Schreyer said the concert had over 700 bands apply to participate before the 35 bands for the concert were chosen.
Schreyer said his goal was to have a wide variety of acts.
“We’re excited about every band,” Schreyer said. “We personally handpicked the bands. It was a two-fold thing — one we wanted to get really big acts which have a large following which people might not get to see somewhere else. We also wanted to get local bands and talents and give them a chance to open for a big star.”
One example Schreyer gave was Blue Lou and The Mafia, a popular local band, having the chance to open for Buddy Guy.
Leading up to the concert, logistics manager Ashley Bechtel said the workers are more than ready for the concert to begin, as over 4,280 hours have been devoted to the concert.
“I would say the mood is bit of tiredness but more excited and anxious,” Bechtel said.
Over a year of preparation concludes this weekend.
Bechtel said the setup will start Thursday and the group is ready to go on all major issues — with only minor details to be worked out.
The concert will use all three fairgrounds entrances, with the south gate on Ohio 122 being used for public entry as well as the entrance off of U.S 35. The main entrance will be used primarily for band and VIP entrance.
Bechtel and Schreyer also said the group has hired a professional security team to work the concert to help monitor alcohol consumption, prevent drug use and provide general public safety. Both believe the security will only be there as a precaution, as neither anticipates there being any issues.
Schreyer said the concert has over 120 individuals who have volunteered to help the concert in some way or another. It has become a true community effort in preparing for the concert.
“All the organizations who’ve helped like the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development, Preble County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Preble County Commissioners — I can’t say enough about Rodney Creech, Rodney Creech has been phenomenal — the Preble County Fairgrounds and James Mays has been incredible. Every part has been tremendous. It’s very hard in a community to get all these organizations under one roof and come together like this. That has been really an incredible part of this — to see everyone join us to work with all these organizations who came together for the benefit of the community.”
Schreyer, the owner of Taffy’s of Eaton, said bringing the concert event to Preble County was about strengthening the community, but also one other factor: “We love music! For God’s sake, we love music!”
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.