ROCKtoberfest: Bridging the local craft beer and music scenes

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Araya Jackson

Get ready to jam, Statesboro. The Eagle Creek Brewing Company and Airbound Entertainment are back again to host their second outdoor music festival for the Statesboro community, called ROCKtoberfest, and they have high expectations for the event and its lineup.

The two businesses first partnered up back in July to host Eagle Creek Music Fest, in conjunction with the brewery’s third anniversary. According to Airbound owner William Bridwell, July’s event was one of the hottest days of the summer followed by the sky falling out and pouring on the crowd, and it still didn’t kill the vibes.

420 tickets were sold for the last event, and they’ve already reached that number in early bird sales for this one. Bridwell hopes to reach the capacity for the venue.

Bridwell started conjuring up the idea for ROCKtoberfest the week before Eagle Creek Music Festival, and community support and engagement provided enough for a second go-round.

“It means nothing if people aren’t coming out and enjoying themselves. We want people to see these things can happen in Statesboro and more than once and it takes the whole community,” Bridwell said.

The inaugural fall fest

ROCKtoberfest scheduled four bands, all who have played in the Statesboro area before. The gates open at 4 p.m. on Saturday, with the first performance by The Orange Constant at 5 p.m. Following them is The Bama Gamblers, then co-headliners The Vegabonds and CBDB, who will close out the festival.

These bands can usually be found these bands performing at Dingus MaGee’s or Gnats Landing, but this event is sure to bring more than just the usual college student out for typical night of partying. The music and atmosphere Saturday night is one to bring out a crowd looking for good music and a groovy time.

Opening the festival is home-‘Boro’-grown, The Orange Constant. Starting out in August 2012, they went from a storage shed to a Copper Beech Apartment and are now stationed out of Athens. They continue to travel all over the Southeast with a growing fan base.

Band members are vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Andrew Brantley, vocalist/guitarist Nickalous Benson, drummer Lee Guentert, and bassist/vocalist Tyler Walker. They produce a vintage, progressive rock sound with pop sensibility, while holding a large focus on songwriting.

“We’re trying to be a band that jams but not a jam band. We want to jam with more serious tone and more song writer focus that some other jam bands,” Guentert explained in a phone interview.

They are all writers in the band, and they will never limit their capabilities to produce lyrics with real meaning. They have a unified understanding of what they want to get across to the listener.

“You’ll never hear us talking about getting drunk, but more of ways of seeing the world or a particular situation. It’s more metaphorical,” Guentert said. “We’re trying to say something that we think means something for people to hear and connect with, as cliché as that sounds.”

Guentert and the band are currently working on their second full-length album. They’re recording out of Athens with producer Drew Vandenberg, who Guentert says likes to focus more on guitar tones and a psychedelic atmosphere. This will reflect through the second album, differing from the first album, “Time to Go”.

“It’s more spacey and instrumental, and the first one was like, here’s some songs and what we sound like live and perfected. We’ve added to the character of the album,” Guentert said.

Although they plan to leave right after the show, they are more than happy to stop and perform in the bands birth-town.

“Statesboro is a simpler life, and it brings back a lot of nostalgic memories,” Guentert said.

Following The Orange Constant is rock-n-roll outfit out of Auburn, Ala., The Bama Gamblers. Bo Flynn is the lead vocalist and bass guitar, Matt Alemany is on guitar and vocals, Eric Baath is on piano and organ, and Hunter Jackson is on drums. They’ve played at Dingus MaGee’s and other schools and venues in the Southeast.

Closing out the festival

Co-headlining the show is the harmonious, southern rock band known as The Vegabonds. They’ve traveled from Georgia, Florida, and the rest of the Southeast, to Texas and Chicago, to two completed European tours.

The band members are Daniel Allen on lead vocals, Richard Forehand on guitar and vocals, Paul Bruens on the bass, Beau Cooper on keys and vocals, and Bryan Harris on the drums.

ROCKtoberfest will end with a performance from the other headliner, CBDB.

Their packed band includes Cy Simonton on vocals and guitar, Kris Gottlieb on lead guitar, Josh Rutherford on the bass, Glenn Dillard playing the saxophone and synthesizer, Donald DeLoach on percussion, and Paul Oliver back on the drums.

This Tuscaloosa, Ala. band formed back in June 2010, combining friends and a few different bands, to finally having the lineup you’ll find today. They travel majority in the Southeast, but have gotten up to New York, Philadelphia and Colorado. This week alone they’ve visited Knoxville, Athens and now Statesboro on Saturday.

The sound they produce is one they like to call “joyfunk.” Simonton described their music as “a balance between heavy progressive rock and pop culture”. It’s ever-evolving and holds many diverse influences coming together to create one tight show.

CBDB is in the process of intense writing for new material. They’re recording currently out of Nashville and plan to release a sample EP by the end of this year. New songs include She’s Mobile and Old Dog.

“Old Dog is more straight towards rock and roll, and She’s Mobile is more of a jammy-party tune,” Simonton said.

The band is known for having an ever-changing meaning for their band name, CBDB. For them, it just worked, and the “meaning” of it is never the same.

“Currently, it’s probably Cinnamon Benson Discount Burlesque. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just crazy stuff. It’s more fun that way,” Simonton said.

A lasting impression

With a full, interesting lineup like this one, ROCKtoberfest is sure to impress. This is the beginning of great music shows for the Statesboro area, and Bridwell plans for much more in the future.

“There’s so much more culture that goes on in Statesboro, and people just don’t take the effort to seek it out or they just don’t know about it,” Bridwell said. “Slowly these things will be revealed to people and people will see there’s a lot to do by staying in town and supporting local businesses. Keep it in the family.”

Tickets may be purchased through the Xorbia linked shared on the ROCKtoberfest Facebook page. General admission tickets will also be sold at the door for $15. Tour and tasting packages will be available at the brewery for those looking to participate in the Oktoberfest aspect of the event.

Eagle Creek and Airbound are expecting a jam-packed, high energy event. So switch up your usual Statesboro weekend night and join the fun this Saturday.