By Sharon Semanie
For the Daily Call
PIQUA — In less than two weeks the City of Piqua will be rocking to the sounds of the Eric Jerardi Band opening the new riverfront concert series entitled Rock Piqua! The Dayton-based blues/rock group will be appearing live at Lock Nine Park overlooking the Great Miami River from 7 to 11 pm, Saturday, June 14. Admission is free and open to the public. There is no rain date.
Jerardi’s group is among three headline performers scheduled to appear in the Rock Piqua! summer series. Other concerts include Clark Manson, of Covington, on June 28, whose band is scheduled to appear at this year’s Country Concert in Fort Loramie; and Nashville Crush of Lima, a country/rock ensemble, on July 26.
The downtown concert series is being presented by the Piqua Arts Council and Mainstreet Piqua along with “headliner” sponsors Positively Promoting Piqua (PPP), the Piqua Community Foundation, the City of Piqua, Mullenbrock & Associates, and Polysource.
According the PAC Executive Director Jordan Knepper, “the live musical performances were designed to give the 25- to 45-demographic an event they could fully support. Other segments of the population are being served through various programs, so we wanted to reach out to this age group and give them something to support. While the focus was on the 25 to 45 crowd, these concerts are designed to appeal to both the young and young at heart.“ Opening act and headliner groups hail from local and regional communities.
Two food vendors scheduled to appear at Lock 9 Park, 125 E Water St., are Susie’s Big Dipper and the Zombie Dogz food truck from Dayton. Beer and wine will also be available for sale along with soft drinks and water. In addition, Rock Piqua! T-shirts will be available in sizes small through 2XL. The Rock Piqua! logo was designed by Kaitlyn Barlage, a senior at Piqua’s Upper Valley Career Center.
Mainstreet Piqua’s Lorna Swisher advises attendees to bring their lawn chairs and blankets for the musical event. Items prohibited will include pets, outside alcohol, and firearms or contraband. Red, White and Blue LLC of Kettering, has been employed to provide professional staging, sound and lighting.
Parking, noted Knepper and Swisher, will be available on either side of the Linear Park, between Main and Wayne Streets, Canal Place and behind Piqua’s municipal building. Portable restrooms will be made available and Anderson Security will be available at entry points to check identifications. Purses and bags may be subject to search.
“We had a number of folks approach us in recent years about sponsoring an evening concert series,” explained Swisher, when asked about the impetus for Piqua Rocks! With all the excitement building for riverfront development, it made perfect sense to use the Great Miami River and Lock 9 Park as a venue to showcase our downtown.”
Although the concert series is free of charge, freewill offerings will be accepted at various entry points. Dozens of volunteers have been recruited to sell beverages and t-shirts, greet attendees, provide hospitality for opening acts and headliner groups and serve on the steering committee which include Dr. Nancy Luce of Upper Valley Career Center; Jeanie Jordan Bates, McVety Realty; Dan Ramer, Fifth Third Bank and Positively Promoting Piqua; Chris Schmiesing, City of Piqua; and both Swisher and Knepper.
Eric Jerardi, who considers himself a “true blues rocker”, has performed live shows throughout the United States and has released seven CD’s since 1995 and worked with producer Z (representing Prince, Fine Young Cannibals, Johnny Lange and Etta James) to recording with Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, and Black Crowes).
He is “musically having the time of his life” with the release of the band’s new CD “Everybody’s Waiting on Me”. He began his musical career by winning a “battle of the bands” in 1989 at Ohio University He later won another contest at OU which secured a spot on MTV as the Midwest’s Best Unsigned College Band. Over the years, he has shared the stage with Little Feat, Robin Trower and Jim Belushi at the House of Blues in Chicago and Los Angeles; played with Eric Johnson on Cape Cod, jammed with Keith Urban, Wynonna and Kenny Chesney in Nashville; and headlined B.B. King in Memphis, Nashville, LA and Manhattan.
In addition to his music career, Eric Jerardi has owned and operated Jerardi’s Little Store in Dayton for nearly 20 years. He is also an accomplished chef and sommelier as well as a wine educator and host of the “Get Real Wine Series” available on DV D. The last of the series was filmed in Bordeaux, France.
The opening act for the June 14 concert is Cincinnati-based “Satellite Flight” whose “fascination and pure-love of the ‘80s ballads” is their backbone. The rock group includes Darwin Darling, drums; Chris Tiller, guitar; Travis Wells, bass and Chris Vondrell, lead vocals. They reportedly “serve up rock and roll with a side of pop” to get their “Flight Crew” fans clapping and stomping their feet.
For more information about the summer music series, go online to HYPERLINK “http://www.rockpiqua.com/”www.RockPiqua.com