The Town of Smyrna will host its first major music festival Thursday night. There's been fanfare and promotion and people seem excited. Is Smyrna going to be the next music hotspot in Delaware?
Unlike last weekend’s Firefly Music Festival, “Smyrna at Night” will likely not draw 80,000 music fans to the streets of downtown Smyrna. That’s OK, though. “Smyrna at Night” is not trying to be the next Firefly.
“We want it to be like a street party and for it to have a laid-back, fun street-festival vibe,” the Town of Smyra’s defacto Public Information Officer Dawn Thompson has said. “We’re all very excited about it.”
The event was announced Tuesday, May 27 when Gable Music Ventures posted a partial lineup to its Facebook page. Two more lineup announcements followed until the entire list—14 deep—had been released.
The last musicians announced included The Joe Trainor Trio, Harper’s Fellow, the Tim Hein Band and Mike Weyrauch.
Those four acts join 10 others: Nadjah Nicole, Bullbuckers, The Late Saints, The Honey Badgers and Justin McNatt of the Justin McNatt Band, Brooke Dicaro, Lovebettie, the Richard Carl Band, the Kevin McCove Band and the Billy Penn Burger Band.
Lovebettie, a four-piece Pittsburgh band, was originally scheduled to do an acoustic set but just before the final lineup notice, GMV took to Facebook to say, “We just can’t wait any longer to announce that instead of doing an acoustic set, Lovebettie is bringing the whole band to close out the festivities at the Smyrna Opera House.”
Lovebettie holds the recent distinction of having Rolling Stone Magazine refer to it as a “band to watch.” Self-described as “pioneers of swagger rock,” band members have defined their sound as a mix of soul, rock and pop. Fronted by Alexandra Naples, who sports a shock of electric red hair that she backs up with an explosive, leading-lady voice and compelling keyboard skills, the band has garnered the attention of classic acts like Bon Jovi to attention-grabbers like Lady Gaga.
When the event was announced earlier this month, Gable Music Ventures co-owner Jeremy Hebbel said that organizers were committed to getting a diverse lineup of local and regional bands. True to his word, the final list contains a little bit of rock, folk, blues, R&B, ska, country and more.
With so many bands to see in one night, Mayor Joanne Masten said she just doesn’t know at which stage friends and neighbors can expect to spy her.
“I want to see them all,” Masten said. “I listen to a lot of country but I know the caliber of bands that Gable Music Ventures has booked is amazing and there is going to be something for everyone.”
In addition to music, Thompson has been working on non-music elements of the festival like parking and vendors. She said earlier this month that she has reached out to a list of about 40 vendors selling everything from food to fashion.
Ultimately, 11 vendors have agreed to attend the festival: Bethany Blues, Crave Eatery, Vanderwende Farm Creamery, Not By Bread Alone Caterers, BK Catering, Mean Green Smokin’ Machine, Mr. Swirl, Dino’s Ice Cream Truck, Drunk’n Baker and Sno-Ball Factory.
Both Sheridan’s and Odd Fellows will also have food available as well.