Five dollars will get you 12 hours of rock n’ roll at the Central Tavern in Elmira May 9.
Organized by the people behind the regular open jam nights at the tavern, the weekend event is a fundraiser for Woolwich Community Services (WCS) and will feature the music of eight local bands.
“We picked [WCS] because we wanted to give back to the community and we wanted to make sure it stayed in town because it’s been so supportive since we started this,” explained Christina Robinson, member of the headlining act Soul2Soul, and the organizer behind the weekly sessions.
Soul2Soul, a three-piece ensemble playing rock covers, will be joined by seven other bands: Highway, Champagne Social Club, Zed, Wishful Thinking, Cofield, Roehr Trio, and Blunt Truth.
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Highway’s saxophonist Vladimir Ragula said there’s bound to be some good tunes next Saturday.
“There’s going to be quite a variety of music,” Ragula explained, noting that there will be musicians young and old performing throughout the day. Each band will get an hour to play.
“There’s a lot of local talent around who just enjoy getting up and when you play in front of people it’s a lot different than just playing in the garage somewhere.”
Ragula added that his band, a seven-piece “garage band with a bit of a difference,” aims to fill up the dance floor.
“We’re all about having some fun up on stage and getting people moving to our songs – we just like to have a lot of fun up there,” said Ragula, counting some of the less mainstream hits by bands such as the Beatles, AC/DC, Chicago and Van Morrison, among his band’s repertoire.
In many ways, the May 9 concert is something of a wrap-up of the weekly open jam sessions held at the Central since January. With the summer holiday season approaching, the number of residents in town is bound to drop, so the jams will be cut back to monthly until the fall.
Prior to the start of the jam nights, even a monthly outlet for local musicians seemed like a lofty goal. When the weekly offerings began, however, the overwhelming response showed there was a latent demand.
“It’s been awesome, and we’ve met so many new people too. A lot of bands have been formed – it’s going really well,” said Robinson.
“I think Elmira needed something like this. We’re such a big hockey [town] and everything and there was really nowhere for bands to showcase themselves or new musicians.”
Appreciative of the solid support they’ve received from their peers and neighbours, the musicians behind the open jam nights wanted to return the favour.
A positive way to do that, Robinson suggested, was to support an agency with a high profile in the community.
The town has “been so supportive since we started this – so many new bands are coming out, it’s just amazing the amount of people that have jumped on board with it. We want to give back to the town what they’ve given to us,” she explained.
The event takes place between 2 p.m. and 2 a.m. May 9 at the Central Tavern on Arthur Street. The cover charge is $5.