BOWLING GREEN (WTOL) - While thousands of music lovers fled to the West this week for Coachella — one of the most attended and arguably most famous music festivals in the country — those of us left behind in northwest Ohio have a better option to catch some real powerhouse performers; and we don’t have to spend roughly $500 to do it.
Three hundred people walked through the door of Howard’s Friday, a premier venue for live music in Bowling Green.
These folks weren’t waiting to see any big names, at least not any most of us would know. They were lining up to support local and regional artists performing as part of a much bigger event.
While hundreds of people made it out on Friday, that was just the teaser for Saturday’s all-day event, aptly called “Fauxchella.” The free DIY festival is making its third run, and will be rocking with bands, DJs and even stand-up comics from noon through midnight.
The event has grown exponentially since its inception. Howard’s may serve as the festival’s home this time, but it hasn’t always been that way. Those in Bowling Green know the heart of Fauxchella truly beats at a place called “The Summit Shack.”WHAT IS THE SUMMIT SHACK?
“Fauxchella” originated at “The Summit Shack." The little house on East Evers Avenue serves as a home for members of a local band called “American Spirits” by day, but by night, it transforms into a hip venue for performers from across the country.
Bandmates Trey Miles, Dillon Van Zandt, Bails Mccance and Conor Alan, along with the help of a few other roommates, got the ball rolling back in 2017.
Alan was inspired by a trip out to Los Angeles.
“Everyone was busy, had goals and desired to expand the creative environment around them,” he said.
Soon after his return, Alan attended a DJ house show in Bowling Green. The combination of what he saw out West with with the immense support for local art he saw back home is what kickstarted his dream of creating an artist collective.
The best part of his dream, is that it didn’t limit itself to one type of art. Alan ultimately wanted to provide both a hub and a platform for photographers, videographers, singers, bands, DJs, producers, editors, comedians and really any other type of artist who wanted to get involved.
In the end, the group realized they took off a bit more than they could chew, and the most effective way to do accomplish their goals was to simply create their own venue. With Van Zandt taking charge of renovations, the group got to work revamping their garage.
Thus, “The Summit Shack” was born.
Being a considerate neighbor, Alan took it upon himself to write a three-page letter and even hand delivered them to those living nearby. It essentially laid out the group’s goals and intentions with hosting loud music performances multiple times a month.
“The letter could be boiled down to ‘Please, don’t call the cops. Please call me instead. I’ll make it quiet faster!' and had all of our contact info and phone numbers on the sheet,” Alan said.
Over the past year and a half, “The Summit Shack” has added better soundproofing, sound systems and more. They have only received two noise complaints and Alan said they resolved both without fines or issues with law enforcement. In fact, oftentimes their neighbors even show up and join in on the fun. Which is good news, because it doesn’t seem like the boys intend to slow down anytime soon.
“We have plans to extend into doing drag shows, poetry nights and art shows in the near future,” Alan said.THE BEST THINGS COME IN THREES
The first year of the festival was only the fourth event put on by “The Summit Shack.”
The first was in September 2017 and was thrown together in just two days. They had 12 total performers ranging from bands, DJs, solo performers and comedians.
After the success of their first festival, the boys of “American Spirits” took a bit more time to carefully plan their next go-around. “Fauxchella II” was in April 2018 and took about four months of planning. This, again, took place at “The Summit Shack" — remember, this is really just a garage and a porch — which found itself hosting more than 300 people. This time, they nearly doubled the set list, featuring 22 performers.
Take a look at a recap from “Fauxchella II” courtesy of Conor Schall:
Now, we find ourselves in the midst of “Fauxchella III” which has already exceeded expectations.
Friday night, the boys of “The Summit Shack” hosted a pre-party featuring a multitude of bands on two different stages at Howard’s. The venue was moved to this location as the festival continued to grow. Smart move, as the pre-party alone hit 300 in attendance, the same number as the entirety of “Fauxchella II.”
Once again, the number of performers has doubled. In totality, the festival will host 44 bands, solo artists, comedians, DJs and rappers.
The show is free, but performers are compensated. How do they manage?
“Personal financial losses,” Alan said with a laugh.
However, with the festival gaining so much traction, they have actually secured sponsorship for “Fauxchella III" from a local company in Maumee called Kaminsky and Associates to help with overhead costs. Not to mention, the many raffles that will be full of “The Summit Shack” and performer’s merchandise.
But really to Alan, the biggest driving force is the desire to bring more art to northwest Ohio. He said they’ve never made any money themselves off of any event at “The Summit Shack." All of the money raised goes towards the bands.
“It’s a labor of love,” Alan said.WHO’S PERFORMING?
Some of the local big dogs performing are “American Spirits," “Teamonade,” and “Boo Lee Crosser.” All are regulars at the shack and have quite a following in the local indie music scene.
You can check out bands from across the region as well. Most festival-goers seem to be especially excited for the alternative stylings of “The Sonder Bombs” out of Cleveland, emo-rock band “Charmer” from Marquette, MI and the pop punk group “Dogleg” from Ann Arbor.
Other than music, there are multiple stand-up comics scheduled to perform.
Mark Philipp is a well-known face around the northwest Ohio comedy scene. He runs Grumpy Dave’s comedy night on Tuesdays in Bowling Green, books the comics for “The Summit Shack” events and has one of the strongest, and most unique voices in the area. He’s performing twice during the event and believes its an important opportunity for attendees and performers alike.
“'Fauxchella' is worth doing not just because it’s an all-day social-art event that highlights the DIY community, but from a comedian perspective, it allows local comics to reach an audience they may not have been able to reach before,” he said.
For a sneak peek at what type of show you can expect to see, check out the “Fauxchella III” Spotify playlist. As a WARNING, some language and subject matter may not be appropriate for all audiences.
While, sure, you may not be in sunny California waiting to see Childish Gambino or Ariana Grande, you get the opportunity to support hard-working, talented artists from right here at home. Who knows? Maybe a few years from now you’ll see them on the set list of the “real” Coachella, and you can go tell your friends you saw them first at “The Summit Shack.”