Lebanon guitar festival to return July 26-27

Shaman’s Harvest and Bobaflex will headline the fourth Guitars Under the Stars music festival July 26 and 27 in Lebanon’s Cheadle Park.

They are joined by tribute bands Unchained, Motorbreath and Wildside, honoring Van Halen, Metallica and Motley Crüe respectively. Other acts include the Raymond Digiorgio Group, Larry Mitchell, the Travis Larson Band, The Nixon Rodeo, Minor Anomaly, Henry’s Child, Ed to Shred and Ben Woods.

Missouri-based Shaman’s Harvest has charted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart seven times since 2009, including “Dragonfly,” “In Chains” and a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana.” The band released its last album, “Red Hands, Black Deeds,” in 2017, with hits “The Come Up” and “The Devil in Our Wake.”

Bobaflex has released four independent albums, “Hell in My Heart,” “Charlatan’s Web,” “Anything That Moves” and “Eloquent Demons,” since 2011, charting four singles and producing multiple music videos with more than 1 million views. The most recent album includes the singles “Long Time Coming,” “Lights Out” and a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Hey You.”

The music and camping festival continues to grow, said founder and director Jason Cripe, who said last year’s event had an attendance of more than 4,000 from 11 different states.

JASON CRIPE stands on the field at Cheadle Park, where he is preparing to hold this year’s fourth annual Guitars Under the Stars music festival July 26-27. Photo by Sean C. Morgan

The festival’s mission is to inspire the next generation, Cripe said. “It is our long-term goal to become known as an interactive music festival.”

He has seen youths inspired to pick up instruments at the event, and this year, the festival will include an area called “Inspiration Alley,” a gear vendor area where those who are inspired can handle various musical instruments and perhaps begin their own journey into music.

It would be something to see a young person inspired to pick up a guitar at the festival one day playing on the stage, Cripe said.

He said the festival schedule is being geared to keep people on the grounds throughout the day and to elevate and support local acts that do well. It will be structured to follow its mission to inspire.

Under a traditional schedule, two or three local acts open a show, he said. Few fans show up until the bands they know are on stage later.

They don’t check out new bands because they don’t know them, he said. He notes that until he was 8 years old, he didn’t know the Beatles. He wants to expose people to more bands and more music.

“We’ve learned a lot,” Cripe said. “We’re constantly researching other events.”

Specifically, he looked at the beer festival in Portland, where, he said, the real headliner was tacos and beer. The bottom of the event’s poster listed The Offspring and Pennywise, both popular bands, in a small font.

But the festival was promoting beer and tacos, Cripe said. VIPs got in early to start tasting beer.

Cripe is planning to do the same kind of thing, letting the VIPs in early for beer tasting and then launching the first show a half hour later. The first few acts will serve as a foundation during that period and include the tribute acts, which are the best and most popular in the tribute field.

All three of them look and sound like their real counterparts, Cripe said. “It’s amazing how close they get.”

All of this will pull people in earlier, he predicted. Following will be local artists, like Henry’s Child and Ed to Shred, which drew people to the festival last year, moving upward in the show slots, Cripe said. The well-known national acts will round out the show.

The festival has lost money each year and he’s spent $163,000 personally, Cripe said, but that’s about creating a brand.

The festival is growing quickly and having a positive effect locally, he said. The first year, it had an attendance of 800. Now it’s nationally recognized, he said, and he has been able to secure Grammy-winning talent for local events and he’s gained access to major trade shows.

It’s already achieving its mission, he said. Floater’s drummer let some children on stage to look at his drum kit. Cripe heard later from parents that they had gone out and purchased a drum kit for their child. Oregon guitarist Michael Hermes played the GUTS stage the first year. Since then, he’s gone on to play with Steve Vai three times and has an endorsement deal with Carvin guitars.

For more information about GUTS, visit the festival on Facebook, visit guitarsunderthestars.net on the web or email [email protected].