Blackout Bowl to Raise Funds for NMF

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For nearly 20 years, Athens musician Scott Winland has organized Blackoutfest, a three-night music festival at The Union Bar & Grill. However, last November’s fire on West Union Street left the venue uninhabitable, putting the annual fest on hold for a while.

Now Winland has come up with a temporary solution until The Union is back up and running: The Blackout Bowl–an evening of live music and bowling at Rollerbowl Lanes. The event, scheduled for May 2, is also a fundraiser for this year’s Nelsonville Music Festival.

“I believe I speak for many when I say The Union is sorely missed right about now,” said Winland. “It didn’t feel right not having anything this spring, so I decided to throw a different type of event at a non-traditional venue.”

Winland explained that since The Union isn’t set to reopen until the fall, he decided to wait a year before the next Blackoutfest.

“I’d much rather keep it at The Union than host the big 20th anniversary in some other room,” he said. “I’ve put together 19 of them at The Union, and think it would be pretty weird to have it anywhere else.”

The Blackout Bowl will feature sets from national and local bands, most of whom performed at The Union at one time or another. Yellow Springs’ Speaking Suns, who performed at The Union the night before the fire, are set to to play, along with Cheap Time (Nashville), Shilpa Ray (New York City), Hex Net (Athens), The Greg Ashley Band (Oakland), Sportfishing U.S.A. (Seattle) and Blam Blams (Athens).

“As much as I love putting on shows in the great local bars, I’m pretty excited to get the opportunity to host an event in a different type of space. Many folks I know love live music, but can’t stay out late, or have had their fill of the bar scene,” Winland said. “I think it will be fun for everyone to experience some live music outside of all of that. Throw in free bowling and I think we’ve got something pretty great cooking here!”

Saturday’s show kicks off at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $15, which includes bowling. For details, visit