The 7 most unforgettable bashes, concerts and other Dayton-area events of the DECADE

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

There are big events and then there are BIG events that keep us talking for years.

Dayton has had its fair share of the latter.

Here’s our rundown of the most surprising and unforgettable bashes, concerts and other large community events of the decade.

Note: They are listed in no particular order.


WHEN: Aug. 25, 2019

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

In the wake of the worst shooting in Ohio history, as many as 40,000 people descended on the Oregon District for Gem City Shine hosted by Yellow Spring resident and internationally-known comedian Dave Chappelle. 

>> RELATED: Transcript of what Dave Chappelle said at Gem City Shine block party

PHOTOS: Gem City Shine brings stars, crowd of 20,000 together

The awe-inspiring street celebration was meant to reclaim the entertainment district and honor victims of the mass shooting.

It featured performances by Stevie WonderJon Stewart and Chance the Rapper.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

>> AMELIA ROBINSON: No, we are not fine

In the hours before Gem City Shine, Kanye WestKim Kardashian and their children held a Sunday service at RiverScape MetroPark in support of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting in Dayton's historic Oregon District.

>> 8-year-old tornado survivor lands spot right next to Kanye during service in Dayton

Tornado survivor Ryleigh Manuel, 8, of Trotwood, found herself singing and dancing right next to rapper and business mogul Kanye West during the service.

>> Kanye West spotted in Dayton ahead of Oregon District block party


WHEN: Aug. 30 and 31, 2013

A street fair in downtown Troy kicked off the music festival on Aug. 29, 2013.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

For three days in 2013, Troy,  a Miami County city of about 25,000 residents, was the center of the music universe.

An estimated 40,000 people attended Mumford and Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover festival there.

The English folk rock band was joined by a list of acts that included Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Phosphorescent, Willy Mason, Half Moon Run, Yacht Club DJs, The Vaccines, Justin Townes Earle, Rubblebucket, Those Darlins and Bear's Den.

>> Troy rolls out the red mustache to Mumford and Sons fans

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Roughly 20 regional and local bands also performed on stages set up on Market and Main streets. Musicians, who were not confined to stages, played the sidewalks, bars and restaurants throughout the festival.

Frontman Marcus Mumford told the thousands in the audience: “We came here for a party train, Ohio.”


WHEN: Oct. 23, 2012



Then-President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden held what was their first 2012 joint public rally anywhere in the country in Triangle Park.

The campaign stop took place after the final debate in Florida between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

About 10,000 people attended the rally.


WHEN: Sept. 8 and 9, 2012 

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

More than 30 bands performed on three outdoor stages during Downtown Revival.

The lineup included Train, John Legend, Guided by Voices, Guster, Rusted Root, Tony Lucca,  Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and The Ohio Players.

>> Legend, Guided By Voices to play downtown

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Matt Luongo, president of the Downtown Revival LLC, told this news organization in the following year that the two-day event was suspended because it failed to meet its financial goals in its inaugural year.

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

>> RELATED: Downtown Dayton Revival plans shelved


WHEN: March 11, 2012 

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

The First Four Festival drew more than 15,000 people to the Oregon District in 2012 for a bash along a span of Fifth Street that was shut down to vehicle traffic.

>> Official: Remain positive, no animosity against NCAA over ‘March Madness’ festival’s cancellation

Held the day the NCAA Tournament field was announced to kick off “March Madness,” the family-friendly event featured big-screen TV broadcasts of the conference championship games being played that afternoon and the selection show that follows.

There were circus tents and outdoor stages for live music and family activities, as well as food and drink, various high-tech displays from Wright Patterson AFB, an Air Force flyover and a Hot Shots basketball tournament featuring former Dayton Flyers and Wright State players and Air Force teams.

The 2013 installment of the festival was canceled due partly to issues involving NCAA’s corporate sponsors. It has never returned.

>> First Four festival will not return to Oregon District; other events planned

Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard


WHEN: Aug. 5, 2017

It’s not every day that a city opens a $64 million library, so it’s no wonder that things were extra showy when Dayton introduced its new downtown building.

>> 10 things you’ll love about the brand new downtown Dayton Metro Library

A rousing poem from local artist Sierra Leone, a block-long ribbon cutting and blasts of color from a confetti cannon opened Dayton Metro Library's much-anticipated main branch in 2017.

>> WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS PODCAST: Dayton’s mysterious walled falls, a phantom driver and how Dayton became the ‘Gem City’

The event was complete with music, acrobats and hoop dancers from Femme Fatale Fitness.

An estimated 7,500 local residents who ventured into the taxpayer-supported library overlooking Cooper Park learned that the true show was the state-of-the-art library itself.

Dayton’s main library has been at the location since 1888.

>> RELATED: You won’t believe why this book was returned to Dayton library 16,863 days late

The Dayton Metro Library Foundation hosted the Main Event, a sold-out fundraiser, in April of 2016.

That  private bash netted $125,000.


WHEN: Sept. 18, 2019

The funk came home on Sept. 18 for a show at the Rose Music Center in support of those who survived the 15 Memorial Day tornadoes to hit Dayton.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

>> 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

The concert organized by The Original Lakeside member Stephen Shockley, and his wife, Brenda Lutz, the concert included performances by The Ohio PlayersThe Original LakesideZapp, and special guest Steve Arrington.

>> Dayton funk legends: 'We just want to give a little bit back'

Faze-O, featuring Grammy Award winner Keith Harrison, opened the #937-Live Legends for relief concert.

It was the first time all of the featured acts that helped Dayton earn its Land of Funk nickname in the 1970s and ’80s performed during the same show.

More than $110,000 was raised for the Dayton Foundation's Greater Dayton Disaster Relief Fund.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

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