Fiction Forest at B&O gave area platform for music

By William K. Alcorn


Well-known local bands, JD Eicher, The Vindys, and Spirit of the Bear were among 15 groups slated to appear at Saturday’s Fiction Forest event at the B&O Station by the Mahoning River, downtown.

Spirit of the Bear, whose members are all Boardman High School graduates, co-sponsored the event with Summit Radio – heard on 90.7 FM in Youngstown. The band members talked about their indie-rock style of music and the strong music community in Youngstown that enables events such as Fiction Forest to be successful.

Members of Spirit of the Bear are Jamie Vitullo on drums, Mike Perorazio on electric bass guitar, Ethan Schwendeman and Danny Svenson, both on keyboard, and James Harker, guitarist and singer.

Fiction Forest, organized by Brian McCale and Amy Fobes, began at 3 p.m. and was scheduled to end at 1 a.m. today.

Among the early spectators were Ron and Kathleen Butch of Poland, who came as that time specifically to hear Spy Convention, a group of area doctors, including Asif Khan, a friend of Kathleen’s at Canfield High School.

A performer herself, Kathleen is the lone female singing with five men in Simple Truth, a contemporary Christian rock group.

Two other spectators who came early “for the music and the beer” were friends Tara Cioffi of Austintown and Shari Hall of Struthers.

“I like the venue, and I like to support Youngstown,” said Cioffi.

Hall, a stay-at-home mom, said she enjoys the downtown bars.

Events such as Fiction Forest are also opportunities for vendors to show off their wares.

Among the vendors were Breene Huzjak and Leah Kalaskyas, who produce handmade jewelry and fine minerals, and original paintings and artwork, respectively.

Fiction Forest is an event to promote the local music scene and draw people to live entertainment in Youngstown’s downtown, said McCale of Liberty.

Last year, the inaugural Fiction Forest drew 450 paid admissions, McCale said.

“I appreciate the area’s strong music community that enables us to put on successful events like this,” he said.

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