By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Jones for Revival will headline Vexfest, the annual rock festival that will be Aug. 11 in downtown Youngstown.
A total of 25 bands will perform on three stages: two outdoors on East Federal Street between Wick Avenue and Champion Street, and a third inside Warehouse 50.
Also scheduled to play are, in no order, Gary Markasky Project, Super Cheef, Jay Mel, Impending Lies, Scarlet & the Harlots, Tropidelic, 5 Elements, Hoss and the Juggernauts, Phoenix Rising, Dennis Drummond, Amnesiac, Class A Bandits, Cereal Banter, Full Moon Canoe, Idle Shades, Bethesda, Ryan Ross and the Y-Town Syndicate, Neon Avenue, The New Pharmacy, Particle 17, Pilot the Mind, White Cadillac, Demos Papadimas and Damian Knapp.
Vexfest, now in its ninth iteration, is returning this summer after skipping a year. Boardman Subaru is the primary sponsor. The all-ages, all-day event will feature free admission and a multitude of merchandise, food and beer vendors. Past Vexfests have drawn close to 10,000 people.
Jones for Revival, the regional jam band based in Youngstown, has played Vexfest several times but this will be its first time as headliner, and the act is eager for the opportunity.
“We haven’t been on display to this crowd in two years, and even then we only had 45 minutes to show them what we had been working on,” said JFR guitarist Jim DeCapua.
“We are playing a two-hour set this year, starting at 11 p.m., that will consist of two covers and the rest originals. We have one new song in the works and we are hoping to bust it out at Vex, but other than that I am willing to bet a lot of our material will be new to people. Last time we played in town was for our CD release show at the Lemon Grove back in February. I personally cannot wait. We are going to put on one hell of a show.”
Vexfest organizers got a late start this summer and the event wasn’t a certainty until a couple of days ago. Vendors and other groups that the festival worked with in the past were not as responsive, said Dan Crump, an organizer who has been involved with the festival for six years.
“It started to become an issue because we were running out of time,” said Crump. “We were feeling the pressure and it started looking like it wasn’t going to happen, but we made the phone calls and got it done.”