Winter Music Fest Returns To Stuart’s

Posted on:

< < Back to

Feeling stir-crazy? Looking to get out of the house this weekend? Stuart's Opera House might have the cure for what ails you.

The fourth annual Cabin Fever Festival returns this Saturday with an impressive lineup of bands and solo performers, as well as an assortment of vinyl LPs, posters and local artwork.

This year's headliner is alt-country band Freakwater, known for their half-dozen recordings on the Thrill Jockey label.

Formed in 1989, Freakwater has consistently released critically acclaimed albums throughout the years, including their seminal 1994 classic, Feels Like The Third Time.

"The Cabin Fever Festival always has an eclectic lineup of bands; that's one of the things that makes it a unique event," said Brian Koscho, marketing and promotions coordinator at Stuart’s Opera House. "Freakwater's touring for the first time in four years, so that alone is pretty cool."

Saturday's bill also includes the indie folk-pop group Cotton Jones. While it's difficult to describe the band's sound, it wouldn't be unfair to label them as "Cosmic American Music," a term coined by Gram Parsons for music based in country, but equally influenced by folk, blues and rock music.

"I'm really looking forward to Cotton Jones," added Koscho. "They're a great folk-y group from Cumberland, Md., who are also playing the Nelsonville Music Festival this year. And I think they'll be popping up in a lot more places too."

Ohio music is always featured at the Cabin Fever Festival, and this year is no exception. Although based in Nashville, singer-songwriter Tim Easton grew up in Akron and played throughout his home state during the early years of his career.

Easton’s brand of Americana has landed him slots on NPR's Mountain Stage and The World Café and earned him the respect of his peers, such as Wilco, who served as his backing band on 2001's Truth About Us. Easton's latest album is Since 1966, Vol. 1, released in 2011.

The one-man Cleveland act Dolfish (aka Max Sollisch) caught the attention of the indie music scene with his debut EP, Your Love Is Bummin’ Me Out, and has since established himself with the release of his first LP, I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay The Same.

The quirky Dolfish is part punk, part lo-fi, but wholly unique in songcraft and approach to the singer-songwriter genre. Recently, Dolfish been featured in Paste magazine and on daytrotter.com.

While music is a big part of the Cabin Fever Festival, there are other attractions, such as the ever-popular Music Swap and Poster Sale, being held in the Stuart’s lobby starting at 3 p.m.

Marietta's Just A Jar Design Press will be on hand with letterpress posters and artwork and Stuart's will have merchandise for sale. Also, vinyl enthusiasts are in for a treat, with hundreds of LPs available.

"There will be several record vendors selling used vinyl of all kinds. We encourage folks who are coming to bring in a stack of records if they want to see if anyone vending is interested in them, but it's primarily a sale," said Koscho. "If you're into records, you do not want to miss it…I usually come home after the show each year with a brand new stack of things to listen to."

Koscho added that admission to the downstairs event is free, though a ticket is required for the upstairs concert, which begins at 7 p.m.

When asked about the success of the annual festival, Koscho chalked it up to the great underground talent that has been featured over the past four years.

"We've had some great acts, both national and local, including Vetiver, Maps & Atlases, The Black Swans, Nick Tolford & Company, Lydia Loveless, Pomegranates, Wheels On Fire and tons more. It's just awesome to see those bands in a setting like Stuart's. Each year it feels like the Festival gains a little more excitement…I think the trick is to keep finding ways to make it more interesting."

General admission tickets are are $15 in advance, $18 at the door and $10 for students. Visit www.stuartsoperahouse.org for more information.