VEX FEST 30 bands to play at free festival on Federal Plaza

The music begins at noon and continues until 1 a.m.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Dozens of Youngstown's top rock bands, as well as a few from outside the area, will perform at the second annual Vex Fest, an all-day outdoor music festival Sunday that is expected to attract more than 1,000 people to Federal Plaza.
Some local bands at the event this year include Coinmonster, Ash Blanket, Mystic WIP Hustler, Tilt 360 and Champions Of All Time. Out-of-town acts include Bedroom Allstars from Cleveland, Slytheryn and Taxi Wardance from Chicago and Drop Shadow from Indianapolis.
Thirty bands are scheduled to play on three stages on Federal Plaza West, rain or shine. Two stages will be outside and one will be inside the Plaza Cafe, which promotes and sponsors the event. Admission is free.
Last year's event
Fred Rafidi, general manager of the Plaza Cafe, said they had about a 1,000 people at the event last year but expect many more this year.
"Last year was very successful, but a couple of things happened. We couldn't sell beer outside and we had a $10 cover charge. This year we're free and we'll have beer trucks outside."
The show is appropriate for all ages, but only those 18 and older are permitted inside. Beer, pop, water and food will be sold both inside and outside. The music starts at noon, and bands are scheduled to play until 1 a.m., with each band playing 30 to 45 minutes.
Vex Fest started last year as an attempt to give exposure to area bands and their different music styles.
"It's just something that we want to do yearly, to give back to the community, and also to bring in other bands that people don't get a chance to see every week. We have bands coming from Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, ... and people can come down and see all their favorite local bands on one bill," said Rafidi.
Rafidi said Plaza Cafe's involvement with the entertainment scene, the sponsors' generosity and the willingness of the bands to perform for free contributed to the decision to offer free admission. Other major sponsors include Attorney Joseph F. Rafidi, Coors Light and Lenz's Artistic Dermagraphics.
"It's really neat because last year it was kind of hard putting this thing together for the first time, and the people had such a good time down here," said Rafidi. "You'll be able to come inside and hear one kind of music, go outside and hear something else. I think it's going to attract different kinds of people, which is a good thing."

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