Sat 11/16 @ 7PM
Twenty years ago, the Streetsboro High School heavy metal radio station, 88.8 V-Rock, scored a coup: they convinced Cleveland-based Mushroomhead, then at the peak of their popularity, to headline a benefit for the non-commercial rock & roll station on April 24 of that year.
The so-called “Spring Mosh ’99” was shaping up to be a real windfall and a big deal, with a band noted for its elaborate presentation involving masks, costumes and stage set, and its complex, thoughtful music which wove together numerous skeins of heavy rock. The show was approved and attracted numerous sponsors. And then, the day before tickets went on sale, then-Mayor Sally Henzel cancelled the permit, claiming the show would overburden safety forces, even though they had already approved it.
Protests erupted outside city hall, and the dust-up attracted national attention and the involvement of the ACLU when it was learned the concert was targeted by local church groups due to their objection to the content. The mayor’s decision was overturned by the law director and city council and tickets went on sale and sold out.
But the concert never happened due to bad luck and bad timing: the first highly publicized school shooting took place at Columbine High School in Colorado four days earlier and was heavily blamed by some on heavy metal, giving the forces arrayed against it a hook to justify their opposition. Not only was the concert cancelled but the radio station’s format was changed.
Now there’s a documentary film about these events called Spring Mosh ’99 — The Show That Never Happened. It recalls the era when a network of church groups and rightwing religious organizations such as the so-called American Family Association were on a crusade against rock & roll, especially heavy metal. (Among the best known were the attempts by that group and its allies to get Marilyn Manson concerts booked into public facilities cancelled by spreading fabricated stories about how his act included killing animals and raping a virgin).
The film will screen, appropriately, at the Streetsboro High School Auditorium. Doors are at 6pm; film screens at 7. Tickets are $10. Go here to purchase.