Friday, May 11, 2001

Jammin' on Main acts jump river

Jillian's in Covington books name bands

By Larry Nager
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Jammin' on Mainstrasse? Jillian's entertainment complex in Covington emerged the winner Thursday as area clubs scrambled to pick up bands after the cancellation of this weekend's Pepsi Jammin' on Main.

        As SFX and Cincinnati Arts Festival Inc., producers of Jammin', contacted bands, production companies and vendors, Jillian's picked up seven of the 27 acts booked for the event, including three national bands — Collective Soul, Buckcherry and Sinomatic — who will perform Saturday night.

        “A lot of the national acts really wanted to play the date, so we were able to facilitate that,” said Mike Grosser, vice president of Jillian's Entertainment Corp.

        The groups will perform in Jillian's Warehouse, capacity 1,923. It's bad news for young Jammin' fans, however — the show is limited to those 21 or older.

        Meanwhile, promoters pondered future locations for Jammin'.

        “Is this event going to be on Main Street next year? That's where we want it to be, that's where it works,” said Mike Smith, a spokesman for Cincinnati Arts Festival Inc. A move for Jammin' was in discussion even before the recent riots following the death of Timothy Thomas, an unarmed African-American shot by a Cincinnati police officer. Sawyer Point has been mentioned among possible alternate sites.

        “We got to the point a couple of years ago where we reached legal capacity (at the downtown site). We'll need more capacity, eventually,” said Mr. Smith.

        For now, Jammin' producers are going over contracts and calling band managers and agents.

        “We've got a lot of work to do,” said Mr. Smith.

        While national acts will receive compensation, local bands aren't so lucky.

        For Swim, a local band that recently signed with MCA, the Jammin' gig was to be a sort of coming-out party.

        “We're sorta bummed,” said Travis Delaney, Swim's lead guitarist. “We're just gonna try to find another gig.”

        Other local groups are worried about the long-term effect of the cancellation.

        “It's just eye-opening about how timid this town is,” said Dan McCabe, whose new band Opi Yum Yum was to play its biggest show to date at Jammin'. “You see how hard people have had to work to get Cincinnati to enjoy its own downtown and how quickly people get scared away.”

        “I don't know what's going to happen to the music scene here,” said Rob Stratton, manager of Ray's Music Exchange, another canceled Jammin' band.

        He sees it as another blow to an already reeling entertainment scene. “I went down to Main Street a few weeks ago to see some friends of mine, and it was just dead down there.”

        “It slowed down a bit, but we have high hopes that good tunes will bring 'em back,” said Mike Cromer, co-owner of the BarrelHouse Brewing Co. on 12th Street.


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