3 stages, 21 bands and 12 hours of music are coming to Pear Blossom Park on Saturday
Steven Solace, with the Steven Shoelace Band, rehearses at Rockafairy on Thursday. Solace will be on stage with musical collaborator James Frederick on Saturday at Rockafest at Pear Blossom Park. [Jamie Lusch/Mail Tribune]
A 12-hour music festival called Rockafest will debut in downtown Medford’s Pear Blossom Park this weekend with three music stages, food trucks, vendors, a mobile skate park course and a beer and wine garden.
Taking place from 10am to 10pm on Saturday and jointly organized by neighboring Sixth Street venues Rockafairy Hall and Johnny B’s, promoters hope the event will become an annual spectacle.
Although Johnny B’s has been a downtown staple for 25 years, Rockafairy opened in February as a musical instrument lending library, offering everything from trumpets to guitars with rental rates ranging from from free to $10.
Formerly home to the American Cancer Society thrift store, the Rockafairy space quickly transformed from jam sessions and loaner instruments, an effort started by Rockafairy founder and president Shane Ross in a back room at Tom’s Guitars , to a rehearsal and event space and a slow growth space. recording studio
Ross said Saturday’s event will highlight local startups and garage bands that embody Rockafairy’s mission to promote and foster local music.
“The history of Rockafairy as an organization has been this idea where we can provide the necessary means for music and art for anyone who wants it. It all started with buying a couple of guitars to try and make a difference , and now more than just an idea, it’s becoming a movement,” Ross said.
Rockafairy’s community outreach ranges from free music rentals for local children helped by non-profits with crisis resources to specific needs such as replacement instruments for Almeda Fire victims. The general public can check out the instruments for $10 a month. Inside the building everyone can play any instrument for free.
When Rockafairy moved out of its storage space inside Tom’s, Ross said small events began to take place that showed potential to overtake the new digs.
“The city wasn’t very excited that we were doing events since we’re only qualified for 49 people in our building, so they said, ‘What if you use Pear Blossom Park?'” Ross said.
Saturday’s rock-themed event will highlight everything from local musicians looking for gigs to garage bands trying to gain stage experience. The main stage will feature Portland’s Yak Attack, while the Rockafairy stage will reinforce Rockafairy’s mission to promote local talent.
Rockafairy stage headliner Steven Shoelace, composed of White City resident Steven Solace and Medford resident James Frederick, began playing together six months ago. Ross “discovered” them playing songs for a skatepark event one weekend.
“Our whole goal is to inspire and influence. We found these guys playing at a local skate park and started talking to them. A few weeks later, we got them a show at Rockafairy. Two weeks later, they played Johnny B’s , and now they’re headlining the Rockafairy stage at Rockafest,” said Ross.
“They have a really unique sound, but another interesting and unique thing is that they have cassette tapes, so we connected them with Retro Wormhole, downtown, to help more people hear what they’re doing.”
Solace said Rockafairy had had a huge impact on his band’s ability to gain experience and become better known in the region.
“I think what they are doing for young people and local musicians is exceptional. Me and my bass player, James, we’re not old enough to play bars or whatever, so having this place, Rockafairy, has been great,” Solace said.
“This event is going to be really cool. I hope more people want to pick up an instrument. They have a really fun vibe. A musician comes into Rockafairy and you can start playing with them without even knowing anyone’s names, and suddenly you’ve made a new friend.”
Keeping with Rockafairy’s mantra, Ross said, of “removing the monetary gatekeeper to music,” Saturday’s event is free. VIP lanyards will be available for $20 to provide access to “Silent Movement headphones,” which will allow users to walk downtown and still hear the festival, as well as a month’s subscription to Rockafairy ($10 value).
Jack’s Board House will be sponsoring an on-site mobile skateboard course.
The Rockafest will have three stages and 21 artists.
Performers include Yak Attack, The Bouray, Theawave, John Dough Boys, Owls and Aliens Band, Mougli and the Blues, Moonbow, Tuffshed, John Johns, Screaming Apparatus, Jah-rome, Templet Band, Charlee Prayers Trio, Steven Shoelace, Annie Macleod, Luke, Dorian Remis Band, Darrin Wayne, Bopl, Canvas Theory and Toxxic Skull.
For more information, see facebook.com/events/s/rockafest-2022/5288614067899333/; rockafairy.org/home i jbsmedford.com
Contact Mail Tribune reporter Buffy Pollock at 541-776-8784 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @orwritergal.