I was looking forward to hearing my favorite living musical legend over the Labor Day weekend, at the Detroit Jazz Festival. But then I read online that Dave Brubeck’s “medical team” (mere mortals have doctors) advised him to cancel. Although still a virtuoso of the keyboard, he is, after all, a few months shy of 91.
While concerned for him, I’ve overcome my disappointment. Now I’m looking forward to my new Labor Day weekend destination: Mutual, Ohio (population 129).
More specifically, I’m looking forward to a brand new music festival, the Madden Road MusicFest, which will debut in Mutual’s old town hall (5854 E. St. Rt. 29, at the corner of S. Mutual-Union Road), Saturday, September 3, noon to 9 p.m.
Mutual, situated at the intersection of State Routes 29 and 161 and surrounded by farmland, is a mere six and a half miles from my house in Urbana and 170 miles or so separated from the distractions of the Motor City (though just 40 miles from Columbus or 45 from Dayton).
The Madden Road MusicFest is all about the music—a mix of folk, bluegrass, rock, gospel and Americana, performed by talented central Ohio musicians, including the coordinator and headliner of the whole affair, local singer/songwriter Daniel Dye. Dye, who recently completed a solo European tour, wants to restore the building to become a regular, intimate concert venue.
Tickets for the Madden Road MusicFest (at a reasonable $10 for the day or $6 for a half day) will support the restoration.
Performances will be on the second floor, above the Town Hall Emporium, an antique shop that Dye’s mother, Janet Dye, has run for the last several years. The building also served as a school with a scaled-down basketball court (a slate scoreboard, marked “Mutual” and “Visitors,” still hangs on a wall on the second floor).
On September 3, the lineup will be The Muleskinner Band, Andolino, Rockin’ Chairs, Like A Child, the Kurtz Trio, and Daniel Dye’s own band featuring two nephews and a niece, Daniel Dye and the Miller Road Band. Also featured is jazz guitarist Johnny O, who will be holding court outside the old town hall, inviting guests to bring instruments and join him in some pickin’ and grinnin’.
If you like your music up close and personal and want to have a part in preserving history, the Madden Road MusicFest is the place to be. See you there!
One more thing: food will be available for purchase – also to help support the cause – along with coffee from Hemisphere Coffee Roasters, the subject of a previous Champaign Uncorked! post.
And here’s a little bonus: a bit of Mutual history that parallels my abbreviated Labor Day journey, more or less….
Mutual, incorporated as a village in 1869, traces its roots back to William Lafferty, a Union Township farmer. In 1840, he told his neighbors he was leaving for Texas. A few miles into his journey, at Old Post Road, now State Route 161, one of his wagon wheels snapped. Near that spot he built a cabin. Others settled around him. They named their new haven Little Texas, a name that was ultimately rejected, apparently by mutual agreement. (Never fear, citizens of Mutual. I will never refer to your home as Little Detroit.)