River Rock turns 10 at Amp
WARREN — The first act Sunrise Entertainment brought to the Warren Community Amphitheatre will be part of the promoter’s 10th River Rock at the Amp season this summer.
The upcoming season will be announced today at a press conference at the Robins Theatre, which is being renovated for a grand reopening in January 2020. River Rock was the first concert promotions venture for Sunrise Entertainment, which will be the booking agent for the Robins.
“I’ve learned a lot (in 10 years) and I’m still trying to learn,” Sunrise co-founder Ken Haidaris said.
One of the things Haidaris has learned is, while people may ask for something new, they continue to turn out for the old favorites.
The Led Zeppelin tribute band ZOSO, that first headliner in 2010, will make its ninth appearance in 10 years on July 20.
“We skipped them once and that year everybody wanted to know why we didn’t bring them,” Haidaris said. “We’ll keep bringing them in until people stop liking Led Zeppelin.”
The Eagles tribute band 7 Bridges (usually paired with singer / fiddler Chris Higbee), the Pink Floyd tribute act Wish You Were Here and the Jimmy Buffett band Fins to the Left also have been River Rock staples. All will be back in 2019. And while the acts paying tribute have changed, Queen and Journey tribute acts also have remained popular.
Haidaris, who is running Sunrise Entertainment solo after co-founder Marty Cohen retired, expects interest in Queen Nation (performing July 6) to increase following the commercial and Oscar success of the bioflm “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The 2019 season will feature two first-time headliners. Opening the season May 25 will be Faux Fighters, a tribute act for the Foo Fighters, led by Warren native Dave Grohl. And the July 6 concert will feature Uptown Funk, a tribute to Bruno Mars.
“I think the Bruno Mars tribute is going to be huge,” Haidaris said. “We worked hard on that one, did our research to make sure they are the real deal, and this guy really is. I think it will appeal to a younger crowd, some families, a different age group. We want to introduced it to new people. What happens is once they experience it once, they come down a lot.”
Beth Kotwis Carmichael, executive director of the Trumbull County Tourism Board, added, “It really does bring people in from all over the region. I look forward to continuing to work with River Rock to continue to promote all of these great entertainment events.”
Another act making its first appearance will be Rocky Mountain Way, which will open for the Tom Petty tribute King’s Highway on Aug. 24. Rocky Mountain Way specializes in the music of Joe Walsh, who regularly played in the Mahoning Valley in the late ’60s / early ’70s when he was a student at Kent State University. He also sold out two shows at Packard Music Hall in 2015.
Permanent fencing should be completed at the amphitheater before the season opens, and concertgoers will notice some new food vendors and a redesigned River Rock logo to commemorate the 10th anniversary
“We’re trying to do some different things to keep it fresh,” Haidaris said. “Sometimes you do these series, and they run their course, but I don’t think so (in this case). People really like the music, and we try to keep it reasonable. I always say it’s like a big class reunion. They come for the music and see their friends and other folks.”
2019 River Rock at the Amp schedule
• May 25 — Faux Fighters (Foo Fighters tribute) and Dirty Deeds (AC/DC tribute)
• June 1 — Hollywood Nights (Bob Seger tribute) and ReBeats (Beatles/Who tribute) ($10)
• June 15 — 7 Bridges (Eagles tribute) and Chris Higbee (country/rock) ($10)
• June 22 — Disco Inferno (’70s disco tribute) and Old Skool (hits from ’80s, ’90s and today)
• July 6 — Queen Nation (Queen tribute) and Michael Weber Show (rock)
• July 13 — Uptown Funk (Bruno Mars tribute) and Guy Without Ties (rock / soul with horns) ($10)
• July 20 — ZOSO (Led Zeppelin tribute), The Fillbillys (redneck rock) and Save the Frogs
• July 27 — Fins to the Left (Jimmy Buffett tribute) and My Drunk’n Uncle (rock)
• Aug. 3 — Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd tribute) and Morrison Hotel (The Doors tribute) ($10)
• Aug. 17 — Escape (Journey tribute) and Harvest (Neil Young tribute)
• Aug. 24 — King’s Highway (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute) and Rocky Mountain Way (Joe Walsh tribute) (Tickets are two for $10)
• Aug. 31 — Who’s Bad (Michael Jackson tribute) and Back Traxx (’60s / ’70s hits) ($10)
All concerts take place at the Warren Community Amphitheatre, 321 Mahoning Ave. NW, Warren. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the music starts at 5:30. Unless listed otherwise, tickets are $8 for adults and free for children ages 12 and younger who are accompanied by an adult. For more information, go to riverrockattheamp.com