Dayton Music Insider: Dayton Music Festival is BACK this weekend

Dayton Music Festival is back on September 21 and 22! Entering into it's 14th year, Dayton Music Fest is a celebration of live music in Dayton with an emphasis on the bands that have connections to our city. This two-day event will be held across three stages at the Yellow Cab Tavern (700 E 4th St), Blind Bob's Bar (430 E 5th St), and Trolley Stop (530 E 5th St) - all in downtown Dayton within a few minutes walk of each other. Two-day tickets are $15 in advance or $25 at the doors. Presale Tickets are limited and end on Thursday, September 20 at 11:30pm. Single-day tickets are $15 at the doors. Ages allowed in depends on the venue, refer to full schedule under Friday and Saturday headings below.

 >>MORE TO DO: 7 amazing things to do in downtown Dayton

Friday September 21, 2018

The Nightowls from Austin, Texas perform for free at Dayton’s Levitt Pavilion on Friday September 21, 2018. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.

On Friday evening, you can get your groove on with Austin, Texas 10-piece band The Nightowls, who are performing for free at Levitt Pavilion. This band has garnered national attention from The Atlantic, Southern Living, Relix, Performer Magazine, Pollstar, Paste Magazine and more, and brought their "raucous" live show (Austin Monthly) across the US, hitting every corner of North America. Don’t miss your chance to see them for free right here in our own backyard! Be sure to bring your picnic blanket, chairs, family and friends for this free live show. 7-8:30pm.

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The Friday Dayton Music Festival schedule is listed below, noting it takes place at 3 different venues downtown, all within walking distance from each other:

Yellow Cab Tavern, Ages 18+ or with a guardian. 

07:00pm Nasty Bingo (NOTE: this performance is free, and part of the YC’s food truck rally) 

09:00 The Boxcar Suite

09:45 Abertooth Lincoln



Blind Bob's Bar with DJ Mike Cooley, Ages 21+ or with a guardian

08:45pm Neo American Pioneers

09:30 Nicky Kay Orchestra

10:15 Moira


12:30 Back Stabbath


Trolley Stop, Ages 21+

08:00pm Lord Kimbo

09:00 Starving in the Belly of the Whale

10:00 Joe Anderl

11:00 Paige Beller

12:00 Adam Remnant

Saturday September 22, 2018

The Saturday Dayton Music Festival schedule is listed below, noting it takes place at 3 different venues downtown, all within walking distance from each other:

Yellow Cab Tavern, Ages 18+ or with a guardian

05:00pm NOVAGOLD

05:50 Tino

06:45 Cricketbows

07:35 Speaking Suns

08:30 LUNG




Blind Bob's Bar with DJ Etch, Ages 21+ or with a guardian

08:00pm Pseudo

08:30 Black Sire

09:15 Grenades!?

10:15 The Molice (from Tokyo)

11:30 The Story Changes

12:30 Luxury Pushers


Trolley Stop, Ages 21+

08:00pm Kyleen Downes

09:00 Biscuits and Gravy

10:00 The New Old-Fashioned

11:00 Happy Chichester

12:00 Shrug


You can also catch another free show at Levitt Pavilion on Saturday evening with country-bluegrass act and Grammy nominees Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. Be sure to bring your picnic blanket, chairs, family and friends. The lawn opens at 6pm, and Rob and Trey will go onstage from 7-8:30pm. 

Speaking of free music, there is no cover at South Park Tavern, who is hosting small disco - grimy pop from Portsmouth, Ohio and GoodnightGoodnight - electronic/analog shoegaze from Dayton. Music starts at 9pm.

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For electronic music fans, it’s a truly “don’t miss” show with London’s own legend Paul Oakenfold performing right here in Dayton at Club Masque. GA $25. Voted Best DJ in the world multiple times! Local DJs Matt Freeman and KimL will get the party started. VIP options available. Doors 9pm. 18+ 

For those of you who want to celebrate with yours truly, I’ll be having my 40th birthday party at Hannah’s on Ludlow. Subterranean will be performing with very special guest Chris Coalt Sr, who does a mean Bill Withers! They go by “Medicine Wheel” when he’s with them, and is one heck of a guitarist! Party starts at 8pm, and music gets going around 9pm. No cover. 21+

>>Everything you need to know to make the most of your Levitt Pavilion experience

Prince fans! The Prince Experience is back at JD Legends! Since 2002 Gabriel Sanchez has been portraying Prince in his critically acclaimed show The Prince Experience. What started off as a small local theatre production of Purple Rain, has expanded into what has become a night of unbelievable entertainment, that keeps anyone who has seen it, talking long after the last encore is played. GA tickets $10, 4-packs $32 (including fees!), special seating options start at $25 and up. 6pm-11:30pm.

Sunday September 23, 2018

The Escher Quartet kicks off the University of Dayton’s Vanguard Legacy Concert season on Sunday September 23, 2018 at the Sears Recital Hall. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO.

At the University of Dayton’s Artslive first Vanguard Legacy Concert of the season features a string quartet acclaimed for their expressive, nuanced performances. In its home town of New York, the Escher Quartet serves as Season Artists of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The Escher Quartet takes its name from Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher, inspired by Escher’s method of interplay between individual components working together to form a whole. For this concert, the quartet will perform selections by Brahms, Britten and Dvorak. Performance at the Sears Recital Hall at UD starting at 3pm. General Admission $18 (student, alumni, staff, youth discounts available). 

One of our hometown faves, blues guitarist Noah Wootherspoon is performing with Cincinnati based band at Levitt Pavilion on Sunday afternoon at 3pm. This is a free show, and a chance to catch one our highly acclaimed son, who has performed with the likes of Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Johnny Lang, Chris Isaak, Boz Skaggs, Leon Russell to name a few. 3pm. Free. All ages.

Alex Franc's Midwest Tour stops off at Blind Bob's Bar with special performances by The Pullouts and Lady Handsome! Doors at 9pm, Show at 9:45pm

As always, thank you for supporting live music!

Your Dayton Music Insider, 

Libby Ballengee

Blogger, podcaster, journalist and huge local music fan Libby Ballengee has started her own production company, Venus Child Productions, as a vehicle to attract local and national acts to the Dayton area and add performance art to concerts for a unique music experience. (Source: Libby Ballengee Facebook, Contributed)

Note to Readers: Click hyperlinks to find out more about the bands, venues, and events, including start times, directions, and ticket information. This is a listing of interesting original live music in the Miami Valley region, but is by no means definitive. Want your show to be considered in future blogs? Send an email to at least 2 weeks before your show to: You can keep up with my live music adventures on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Thanks for reading and enjoy the show! 

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