Sideshow festival spotlights teamwork, diversity at Yellow Cab Tavern



Sideshow 16, slated Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20 at Yellow Cab Tavern, is the antithesis of a high-priced corporate event. Donations are accepted but there is no cover charge for the all-volunteer music and arts festival, which features two evenings dedicated to the creativity of Miami Valley denizens.

“At this point, Sideshow is kind of a well-oiled machine,” said Sideshow coordinator Tara Moore. “Everybody knows what to do but it’s always a big undertaking. There are a lot of people and a lot of communication between artists and organizers. Jen Dyke has been the art coordinator the last couple of years. She maps out the space for every artist and what they need. We’re lucky that Dayton is very collaborative. Everybody seems to get along and want to help, and it’s not like that everywhere.”



Returning talent

Music begins at 5 p.m. Friday and has performances by acts like the 1984 Draft, A Shade of Red, Todd the Fox, Mandy Jewell, Achilles Tenderloin and the Primetime Blues Band. Music begins at 4 p.m. Saturday with performances by the Nautical Theme, Sadbox, Kyleen Downes, Death By Fetish, Novena, Windsor Knotts & Friends, Abigail Moone and others.

“We have some familiar groups coming back like the 1984 Draft and A Shade of Red,” Sideshow coordinator Joe Augustin said. “There are some people that played last year and some who have done Sideshow before, but it might have been five or six years ago. Todd the Fox hasn’t done it for a while and they’re coming back. Dip Spit is back this year. They’re going to be closing us out on Saturday.”

Sadbox, which is currently working on material for the follow-up to its 2021 album, “Future Copy,” is making its second appearance at the event.

“We were fortunate enough to play Sideshow in 2019,” said Paul Levy of Sadbox. “It was a real treat, and we look forward to doing it again this year. It’s always very rich with performing arts, music and visual arts but the variety and curation really set it apart. It has a long tradition and always delivers an excellent experience.”



Festival debuts

Sideshow has always been a platform for newer acts and this year is no different. The selection committee also included established acts that have never participated.

“We have some new ones like Keowee Reload and Grit & Harmony,” Augustin said. “For the first time we have She’s Deadly, which is Emily McGuff’s new band. It will be the first year in the lineup for Jenna Gomes and the Bob Dellaposta Trio. Bob is somebody who has been playing in Dayton a long time but has never played Sideshow. We also have the Primetime Blues Band, which I’m excited about.”

While preparing to the record the new album, “The Cold Backhand of Love,” Primetime Blues Band is performing at a number of festivals this summer like Yellow Springs Street Fair, Clifton Falls Blues & BBQ and the Lebanon Blues Fest. For leader Tony Huston, Sideshow is another opportunity to reach a different audience.

“I was initially drawn by the volunteer aspect of the event, and the diverse number of musical acts,” he said. “Plus, Yellow Cab Tavern is an awesome venue for hearing live bands. We have a very unique setlist that includes my original songs and classic blues songs that are injected with our DNA. We always go 100 percent no matter where we perform.”

Singer-songwriter Mandy Jewell, who is performing at Porchfest in August, is also working on songs for an upcoming recording project. This is her fourth appearance at Sideshow but her first time back since performing in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“To me Sideshow means art, diversity and unity,” Jewell said. “I get to enjoy artists who are my friends and (those) I’ve never heard or seen before. Both are equally enjoyable for me. Very rarely do you come across a local festival that has this much diversity.”



More than music

Performers from Dayton Poetry Slam will perform each night. Visual artists include Ron Rollins, Rachel Botting, Cade Paradoxa, Jolie Ruin, David Hurwitz, Kelly Guerra, Bob Tewskbury and Samantha Farkas.

“The thing I always look forward to is the art,” Moore said. “I love it because there is just so much diversity. I like to see what people come up with. There’s always something interesting.”

Proceeds from Sideshow 16 benefit the Erin Opt Scholarship Fund.

“We started donating to Erin’s fund last year and we’re doing (so) again this year,” Moore said. “She was one of the founding members who passed away. It means a lot because she was one of the main starters of the Sideshow and Yellow Cab, so we really want to keep this going in her name.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or


What: Sideshow with the Primetime Blues Band, Mandy Jewell, Sadbox, the 1984 Draft, Nautical Theme, Todd the Fox, Kyleen Downes and others

Where: Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. Fourth St., Dayton

When: 5 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and 20

Cost: Free

More info: 937-424-3870 or

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