For the fifth year, Kent’s Activemuse is marking the anniversary of the 1970 shooting deaths of four Kent State students by the Ohio National Guard with its annual Peace and Music Fest.
The event with take place from 7-11 p.m. Monday, May 4 (the actual anniversary of the shootings), at the Kent Stage. Co-hosts for the event (which includes music, film screenings, a book signing and a silent auction) will be popular local reggae artist Carlos Jones and musician/road manager/music industry jack-of-all-trades “Zenmaster” Marky Ray.
“I just think music and peace go together,” says organizer Mary Mosher of the event’s focus. “It’s how you get people to come hear you talk about waging peace.”
This year’s “all-acoustic” edition of the festival features the plaintive, classic-rock-influenced music of Pittsburgh “garage-folk” artist Steven X. Bodner a.k.a. Damaged Pies; moody Cleveland-area singer-songwriter David Ullman, who released his debut full-length Dog Days last year; veteran of Cleveland’s Irish folk music scene Gusti; and eclectic singer/guitarist/accordionist/ukelele player Stephanie Sema who calls herself Pirate Jenny and dresses accordingly. In addition, three teenage guitar prodigies — Thomas Hite, Robert Dietrich and Lucas Kadish — will perform.
The festival will also feature screenings of University of Akron media instructor Phil Hoffman’s two PBS films about the '80s Akron music scene: It’s Everything and Then It’s Gone and If You’re Not Dead, Play. Hoffman will also join Ray to perform under the name Giant Clam & Tiny Swells.
Writer/activist Kent Smith will be on hand to sign copies of Please God Save Us, the book he co-authored with artist Derek Hess, which addressed in drawings and essays the misdeeds of the Bush administration and the right wing.
The show is free; the silent auction (which will include an original piece by Hess and rock ’n’ roll memorabilia from Ray’s many years on the road) and the “Great Rock ’N’ Roll Raffle” will cover the event’s expenses. For more information e-mail email@example.com. —Anastasia Pantsios