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Heights Music Hop brings hype to the Heights

December 2nd, 2013

As many students head home for Fall Break, campus is going to get pretty quiet. But for those hanging around JCU during the long weekend, things might get pretty loud, that is, if they head over to the Heights Music Hop in Cleveland Heights. FutureHeights, Cleveland Beer Week and Cellar Door Cleveland teamed up to plan this free music festival on Friday, Oct. 18. The festival is happening just minutes from campus, with the main stage venues at Cedar Lee Pub, Lopez Bar & Grill, New Heights Grill, Phoenix Coffee, The Social Room, The Stone Oven and The WineSpot – and those are just to name a few.

All of the bands playing at the festival are from Northeast Ohio, and most are based in Cleveland and the Cleveland Heights area.

“It’s exciting to demonstrate to people what a whole lot of talent there is in this area, because then they’ll support them too and it’s good for our region,” said Jeff Coryell, committee member and one of the masterminds behind the creation of the festival.

The Hop is one of five flagship events happening across Cleveland on the opening night of 2013 Cleveland Beer Week, but you do not need the paid beer week ticket in order to attend. While some of the bands are performing at bars, students under the age of 21 can still join in on the fun. Coryell said some of the best bands are playing at venues that don’t serve alcohol, including The Stone Oven, Heights Arts and Phoenix Coffee.

Even JCU’s own radio station, WJCU, is getting in on the fun. The station will have a table set up during the festival to promote the station and connect with both current and potential listeners.

“A lot of the people who are performing at the Heights Music Hop are artists that we play in ‘The Heights,’ which is our 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. programming, Monday through Friday,” said sophomore Matt Hribar, promotions director at WJCU. “It’s a grassroots kind of concert, and we’re kind of a grassroots station, so there’s a lot of similarities. I think people who aren’t aware of our presence who love stuff like the Heights Hop will really end up liking the station.”

Coryell had the idea for the festival two years ago, as a way to help Cleveland Heights and University Heights become entertainment destinations.

“I feel like we’re a great music town, a great arts and culture town, but people aren’t very much aware of us as a place to go for entertainment and dining,” Coryell said.

Prior to moving to Cleveland, Coryell lived in Austin, Texas, home of the popular music festival South by Southwest. He recalls the festival in its beginning stages, and hopes for the Hop to do for Cleveland Heights what South by Southwest did for Austin – make it an entertainment town. Coryell expects the festival to draw about 1,000 people this year and continue to grow in the future as an annual event.

The Hop has something to offer for fans of every genre from rock to jazz to classical, and performers include Oldboy, Seafair, The Admirables and Tom Evanchuck. A complete listing and schedule is available at heightsmusichop.com

The fun doesn’t end after the final shows. For those who are of age (21 and over), the Hop is hosting an official after party from 10 to 11:30 p.m. at The Bottlehouse, with a $5 cover charge at the door including live music by Bethesda, a half-pint sample of a new craft brew and door prizes.

“You’ll never find this many great bands all in one place all playing for free,” Coryell said. “It’s an event not to be missed.”