Sound Valley Music Fest thrives from community support



Sound Valley Music Festival is part of a new generation of local events like For Dayton By Dayton and Porchfest focused on the rich diversity of the Gem City’s music community.

The annual event, slated for Saturday, Aug. 26 at Yellow Cab Tavern in Dayton, features a headlining set from rap-rock party band Nightbeast with a dozen other acts including rapper Eman Jones, jam band Intergalactic Space Force and Americana group Sam Kings & the Suspects.

“We never know what to expect when we put on the event,” said Sound Valley co-founder Zac Pitts. “We like it to be diverse. Some of the people we’ve seen before and some we haven’t, but we know the people we’ve picked either have a following or they know the importance of promoting themselves. They are artists and bands that really take what they do seriously and that’s what we want the festival to be.

“These are people that really want this dream,” he continued. “We want to help them with what they’re doing by bringing together the resources we have available to us and also our expertise in marketing and getting the word out there.”



Organizer becomes rocker

Pitts, who released his solo debut album, “Midwest Romance,” in late 2022, is making his first appearance at Sound Valley Music Festival.

“I’m super excited about playing the festival this year but that has been a whole project in itself,” Pitts said. “I’m trying to put that together while organizing the festival. Since this is the first time I’m playing the festival I want to be able to perform at the level of the other bands. I don’t want to be the guy who fell short.”

This is also Pitts first show since his album release at Yellow Cab Tavern.

“I put together a band with Patrick Himes, Brian Hoeflich and a few other guys for my album release show back in December,” Pitts said. “It’s really tough to get all of those guys together so I knew the only way I was going to be able to play shows was to have it be me and a drummer and the rest on backing tracks. It’s very much like what the Story Changes does.

“Zach Pack, the drummer for Seth Canan & the Carriers, is playing with me,” Pitts continued. “We’d see each other at shows and we got along really well. We became friends and started hanging out. I knew if I was going to do this as a two-piece with backing tracks, I’d need somebody I get along with really well.”

Supporting nonprofits

At each festival Sound Valley partners with a local nonprofit, which receives a portion of the ticket sales. This year’s event supports Miami Valley Meals and its mission to assist area residents facing food insecurity.

“Nick Testa of Nightbeast works for Miami Valley Meals so having them as the nonprofit this year was a really good tie-in,” Pitts said. “It’s been a few years since Nightbeast has headlined. They weren’t on last year’s festival but they’re the perfect headliner. They bring the energy. They’re just good guys. They’re fun people to work with and with something that does require so much work, what you’d call a labor of love, you have to do it with people that love what they do too.”



Community event

Pitts, who is a morning news anchor for WDTN, runs Sound Valley with partner Ashley Karsten. He admits this labor of love can be taxing on the two-person team, but the annual event is kept afloat by community support.

This year’s presenting sponsor is Lee’s Famous Recipe and the community sponsor is Mike’s Vintage Toys. Additional support is provided by Toxic Brewing, Vaporhaus, Minutemen Press, Hot Head Burrito, Haus of Sequins, Pizza Bandit and others.

“This festival is successful because people are willing to work together to make it happen,” Pitts said. “It’s still very DIY so it can be stressful. Things don’t always come easy. It’s a lot of work but when it’s all done, it’s something Ashley and I can be proud of.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or


What: Sound Valley Music Festival featuring Nightbeast, Eman Jones, Intergalactic Space Force, Sam Kings & the Suspects and others

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

When: Saturday, Aug. 26 at 4:30 p.m. Doors at 4 p.m.

Cost: $15 in advance, $20 day of festival; children 12 and younger admitted free

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