Ravenna rocks first music festival in concert series

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Ravenna rocked its first live music festival on Saturday, with promises of more live music to come every month extending into fall.

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The Portage County seat kicked off celebration of the Independence Day weekend with the Ravenna Rocks festival, which began at 4 p.m. and lasted until 10 p.m. Local musician Eli Nash, joined by several of his fellow artists, was the opening performer, and regional band Blue Siren took the stage at 7:30 p.m., closing out the evening.

The concert series will continue on the first Saturday of every month through October.

Brian Wolf, owner of Wolf Rock Radio, welcomed the crowd to the "first ever Ravenna Rocks Concert" and introduced Blue Siren. He said not enough attention is paid to local bands.

"It's all happening right here in Ravenna," he said.

A Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area had been expected to be in place in time for the event, but had not been formally approved by the state in time. However, Jim Wade, owner of West Main Street Winery and Brewery, said the lack of a DORA wasn't hurting business.

"Right now, that isn't stopping anybody," he said.

At Wade's request, the stage at West Main and Meridian Street was draped with an American Flag and adorned with flags representing each branch of the military service. Wade is a U.S. Navy veteran of Desert Storm, and his son, A.J., also is a Navy veteran.

"There are going to be four of these," Wade said of the concerts. "We were hoping to grow it from here."

Several food and sales booths were set up along Main Street, and Leeda Northeast led family friendly yard games at the Portage County Courthouse Lawn.

Several piles of decorative rocks, used as signage, were set up through the downtown, set up by Black Horse Landscape Supply, one of the event sponsors.

Ryann Kuchenbecker, executive director of the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce, said the event is just getting started.

"We wanted this to grow organically," she said. "It's going to be the start of a new tradition in the community. We're trying to bring something new to Ravenna."

Reporter Diane Smith can be reached at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com.

This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Ravenna rocks first music festival in concert series