The Rialto Theatre to host to Hey Monea, Labra Brothers and 10 other regional favorites April 1-2.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit two years ago, Northeast Ohio’s performance venues went completely dark, leaving local musicians to either hang it up or hunker down.
For Akron-based artist Angie Haze, it was a bit of both.
Now, she and her band are emerging from the pandemic with their first live performance in two years and a new, edgier sound as they headline the Kenmore Spring Break Music Festival April 1-2 at The Rialto Theatre.
“I sort of had a meltdown when COVID-19 hit and my biggest coping mechanism was ripped away. We were faced with a global catastrophe and I had no outlet,” Haze explained. “It really made me question who I was and whether or not I should even continue making music.”
Ultimately, the pandemic forced Haze to look inward, and in May she released "The Great Pause," an ode to the worldwide shutdown.
Now, Haze said she's finally feeling relieved and excited to hit the road again.
“I am truly grateful and proud of the community and my band, and it means everything to me to be able to get back on stage.”
The Angie Haze Project is one of 13 artists on the bill for the Kenmore Spring Break music festival, presented by The Summit and The Rialto Theatre in Akron's Kenmore neighborhood.
The music will kick off Friday, April 1 at 6 p.m. featuring full-band performances by Hey Monea, Indre and Shelby Olive on the theatre’s main stage. Alternating between acts in the Rialto’s intimate Living Room will be acoustic performances by Alex Bevan, Charlie Wiener and My Buddy Josh’s Band – all decades-long veterans of Northeast Ohio’s music scene.
Saturday, April 2 will kick off with a special 5 p.m. performance by the young jazz artists from Open Tone Music Academy, followed by Anya Van Rose and Youngstown’s The Labra Brothers. The Angie Haze Project will close the night, but not before Yankee Bravo’s Benjamin Payne, Reed Mitchell and members of Church of the Starry Wisdom fill the Living Room.
Along with the Rialto’s range of alcoholic beverages, organic tea, coffee and pastries will be available in the Living Room from Srina Tea House & Cafe. It’s all part of The Rialto Theatre’s drive to become Northeast Ohio’s most unique venue, which includes live album recording and an onsite recording studio.
“We’ve toured the country and our favorite venues are always the ones that feel intimate and offer that little something extra, something magical,” said Seth Vaill, co-owner of The Rialto Theatre. He and his brother Nate co-founded the venue after spending years as touring musicians. They launched the first Kenmore Break music festival in December featuring Big Pop and J.D. Eicher as a way to showcase the best local artists in one place.
“When it comes to recording and sound, we know what musicians like. And Nate is the best around,” Seth said. “We always pay attention to the room, how it feels, how it sounds, how bands experience the space. And we want the fans who come here to experience the same magic, from the coffee to the coziness and friendliness of the staff. We just want them to feel different and special here.”
Tickets to the Kenmore Spring Break Music Festival are $15 each and are on sale now. For more information or to purchase, visit therialtotheatre.com.