Beachland Event Celebrates Local Music Scene

Sun 8/29 @ 1-4:30PM

Take time out Sunday afternoon August 29 to celebrate the history of rock and roll in Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom. Cleveland rock musicians, writers, radio personalities, photographers, and venue owners will share stories during an afternoon party at one of Cleveland’s iconic music venues.

The Beachland Ballroom is just one of the clubs, bars, concert halls, and large gathering scenes that author Deanna Adams writes about in her latest book, Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Venues. She and radio personality Ray Carr will host the event by leading panel discussions to showcase historic concerts and the places where they took place.

During this afternoon of nostalgia, you’ll be treated to music, behind-the-scene stories, and photographs at Cleveland venues that many will remember.  Some of those who will be on hand to tell their stories are photographer Janet Macoska (whose many photos are included in the book), and David Spero (former deejay and former manager to Michael Stanley and Joe Walsh, among others) and former air personality/program director and Billy Bass, who will talk about their radio careers.

The musician panel event will offer a chance to meet musicians Jim Bonfanti (the Raspberries), Jim Quinn (Damnation of Adam Blessing), George Sipl (Eric Carmen, Magic, American Noise), Alan Greene (Breathless, Mr. Stress, Alan Greene Band), Tommy Rich (American Noise, many more), Billy Coakley), Steve Jochum, (Wild Horses), and Jennifer Lee (Ghost Poets, The Resonators).  Find the schedule for the event at clevelandrocksppf/celebration-of-cleveland-rock-history.

The concert-going journey told in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Venues begins with the Moondog Coronation Ball at the Cleveland Arena. Old-timers may remember the Beatles’ appearance at Public Hall in 1964. Although short-lived, the football stadium concerts of the 1970s were day-long events with multiple acts.

Many concert spaces showed up decades ago. The Cleveland Agora, which opened in 1966 at Case Western Reserve University, continues today at a new location as a venue guaranteed to have a good show. And then there was (and still is) Blossom Music Center, the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra since 1968, but also where acts as diverse as country, blues, classic rock, and jam bands like Grateful Dead have appeared over decades. Many of us have been to concerts at Public Hall where big-name rock stars like David Bowie have taken stage.

The intimacy of small clubs and bars like the Brothers Lounge, the Euclid Tavern, Peabody’s DownUnder and the Phantasy created lifelong fans and gave new bands a start. Today, newer clubs like the Bop Stop, the Grog Shop and the Music Box continue the tradition and delivered live and virtual performances right through a global pandemic. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not just a museum; it’s a place where you can catch outdoor concerts this summer.

And then there’s the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern. Originally constructed in 1950 as the Croatian Liberty Home, the ballroom has been a fixture in the North Collinwood neighborhood for 70 years.  The Beachland Ballroom was founded by Cindy Barber and Mark Leddy in 2000. Barber, who is also founder of the nonprofit Cleveland Rocks: Past Present and Future, will be one of the venue panelists on Sunday.  She’ll be joined by Sue Csendes (WNCX, Live Nation) and Trenda Jones (Sahara Club history).

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Venues was released in March of 2020, but the launch was delayed twice due to the pandemic. She will be selling and autographing her latest book on Sunday; proceeds will go to Cleveland Rocks: Past Present and Future, which promotes the music scene and supports musicians.

[Written by Claudia Taller]

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