When Vexfest returns this Sunday after skipping a year, it will be streamlined and in a new location, but with its spirit fully intact.
The free daylong rock festival in downtown Youngstown will be moved over one block, across Central Square to East Federal Street. Also, the indoor stage will now be Warehouse 50, which is spacious and airy.
Warehouse 50 might be a better live-music venue than the previous indoor stages, especially the old Barley’s Pub (the former Downtown 36 was the other indoor stage).
Barley’s was a long, narrow room with an absurd floor plan. The stage was near the front door and facing the opposite side wall, creating an entranceway logjam and horrible acoustics.
Vexfest 9 will have 25 bands. That’s about half as many as last time — and a good thing. The past few Vexfests had so many bands that set lengths were limited to 30 minutes, with a scant few bands getting 40 minutes or a little more.
This year, every band will get 45 minutes, with Dennis Drummond Trio and White Cadillac getting an hour, and headliner Jones for Revival getting almost two hours.
As usual, Vexfest’s lineup has been carefully curated to include most of the area’s top bands and an eclectic mix of rock styles that ranges from hip-hop to hard-core, indie-folk to horn-drenched rock, jam band to blue-eyed soul, and reggae to progressive.
There also will be food, beer and unique merchandise vendors at Vexfest, which typically lures 7,000 people or more through the gates.
Here is the schedule:
2-2:45 p.m.: Demos Papadimas
3:30-4:15 p.m.: Tropidelic
5-5:45 p.m.: Jay Mel
6:30-7:15 p.m.: Scarlet and the Harlots
8-8:45 p.m.: 5 Elements
9:30-10:15 p.m.: Phoenix Rising
11:15 p.m.-1 a.m.: Jones for Revival
2:45-3:30 p.m.: Damian Knapp
4;15-5 p.m.: Super Cheef
5:45-6:30 p.m.: Impending Lies
7:15-8 p.m.: The Gary Markasky Project
8:45-9:30 p.m.: Hoss and the Juggernauts
10:15-11:15 p.m.: Dennis Drummond Trio
WAREHOUSE 50 STAGE
2-2:45 p.m.: Amnesiac
3-3:45 p.m.: Class A Bandits
4-4:45 p.m.: Cereal Banter
5-5:45 p.m.: Full Moon Canoe
6-6:45 p.m.: Idle Shades
7-7:45 p.m.: Bethesda
8-8:45 p.m.: Ryan Ross and the Y-Town Syndicate
9-9:45 p.m.: Neon Avenue
10-10:45 p.m.: The New Pharmacy
11-11:45 p.m.: Pilot the Mind
12-12:45 a.m.: Particle 17
1-2 a.m.: White Cadillac