Social Distortion to Headline Free Klipsch Fest at the Rock Hall

Sat 8/11 @ 3-11PM

There’s something magical about being outdoors and hearing a distorted guitar provide the perfect soundtrack to a warm summer day. That’s basically what the Klipsch Fest Music Festival is all about taking place Sat 8/11 @ 3-11pm outside the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The all-day affair includes headliners Social Distortion and punk godfather Jon Langford (Mekons and Waco Brothers), along with Cleveland’s own Archie and the Bunkers, as well as the Boys from the County Hell. Also between live performances will be DJ Red I, DJ David Paris and DJ SquareBiz spinning sets on the plaza.

CoolCleveland talked to Rock Hall VP of Education & Public Programs Jason Hanley about the inaugural Klipsch Fest Music Festival.

CoolCleveland: The Rock Hall has been presenting outdoor concerts for decades. How is the Klipsch Fest Music Festival different?

Jason Hanley: It is different. There’s been live music here, but it’s never been kind of consistent. Now with our Rock Hall Live powered by PNC out on our main stage, we’ve been doing more. Last summer was 50 days of live music, and this summer will be over 60. So with KlipschFest, we wanted to do something where it’s a big, full-day festival at the museum with a different attitude, a different vibe.

CC: One would assume musically speaking, any festival with Klipsch in the title better sound pretty good.

JH: Right. We recently redid all of the speakers on our plaza. So when you’re out in front of the museum, you’re hearing the music from inside the museum on brand-new Klipsch audio speakers. And it sounds killer. You can hear it from a block away.

CC: Regarding the notion of presenting live music, how does the Rock Hall view its importance?

JH: I think a big part of the Rock Hall experience. One of the things that’s always been so important is that we’re unique as a museum in some ways because the art form that we honor and preserve is still active and alive. Many of the inductees are still out there performing, and there are many, many great artists who hopefully someday will be inducted. So we’ve really tried to think of the Rock Hall being some vibrant place where you come down and not only see the history of it, but you can experience that feeling right now. The interesting thing is there are a lot of people who don’t get a chance to go out to see live shows. Now they can be visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, learning about this great art form and experiencing some kickass live music. And Social D is definitely that.

CC: Let’s digress for a second regarding Social Distortion: Should the Mike Ness-led punk band garner induction consideration?

JH: Yeah. From a personal standpoint, I’d say Social D is definitely a band who could be considered for induction, fairly soon. One of the reasons we picked them to headline this show is people who have influenced Mike Ness and Social D — Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones — are inductees. So it’s punk, but it’s also that country side, songwriting side and good old classic rock music. Then of course they went on to influence the whole next generation of pop-punk and punk bands that came out of the West Coast such as Green Day, blink-182, Rancid and the Offspring. So Social D for me fits in a really cool spot between the artists they were influenced by from the early days of rock ’n’ roll to a lot of younger artists who were influenced by them.

CC: Is there a relationship between Social Distortion and the Rock Hall?

JH: Mike Ness is a great friend of ours. In fact, when we honored Johnny Cash in our Music Masters program a few years ago, Mike came out and was a big part of that. Mike is a historian himself. A great moment for us was he asked us to tell him stories about some of the artifacts, but then he would tell us his own stories. That’s when the Rock Hall comes alive the most when people bring their rock ’n’ roll stories and then they learn new ones while they’re in the museum.

CC: What else is planned for the Klipsch Fest Music Festival?

JH: We’re actually working with Strummer Jam 2018, which is the Joe Strummer Foundation’s piece to make sure they are carrying Joe Strummer’s legacy forward in a way that’s about education. Each year they do this event around the world, looking for people to donate to causes locally that help to continue music education. So they’re part of this as well. It was a great way to bring a lot of these things together.

CC: Finally, what are the odds the festival returns next year to the Rock Hall?

JH: I’m hoping it’s a big success, that everybody comes down, it’s a great day here and we’re able to do it again. That’s something that we want to have at the Rock Hall – where you can just immerse yourself in rock ’n’ roll all day long.

rock hall klipsch fest

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