Mix of Regional and National Rock Acts To Play Inaugural Summit Fest


Summit Fest organizer Chris Bianchi. - COURTESY OF CHRIS BIANCHI
  • Courtesy of Chris Bianchi
  • Summit Fest organizer Chris Bianchi.
Chris Bianchi, a locally based artist manager and indie label owner who grew up in Streetsboro and now lives in Kent, crossed one item off his bucket list when his band signed a record deal when he was still in high school.

Now, he’s about to cross another item off that list. He’s recruited ten national and regional rock act to play at Summit Fest, a festival he’s curated that’ll take place on July 30 in conjunction with the Summit County Fair.

“It’s been a life-long dream of mine to want to put together a festival that’s curated by me featuring artists that I feel are talented,” says Bianchi, author of The Music Agenda: Best Practices For Your Music Career, an e-book designed to help bands understand how they can make money from their music, in a recent phone interview. “I wanted to incorporate it as part of a fair or camping experience or waterpark."

Originally, Bianchi says he was going to do the festival at another location. COVID wiped out those plans. The Summit County fair organizers came to the rescue and offered the arena on their fairgrounds.

"It's a fair I’ve attended my whole life," says Bianchi. "They have a big arena on their property. They love doing concerts there, but they didn’t have anyone who could pull it off. The timing worked out, and I partnered with them and put this thing together. We want to do it every year and grow it within reason.”

Saving Abel, a hard rock act out of Mississippi, will headline the event.

“I’ve know the band for a long time,” says Bianchi. “They’re having a big resurgence and will be doing bigger tours. This is their last hurrah before revamping. They’ve sold millions of albums and had multiple radio hits. We want to bring in bands for the 25- to 45-year-old demographic. A few of bands that I managed will play, and there will be heavy metal and hard rock throughout the day. There are five local acts and five national acts.”

With the fair operating at full capacity this year, Bianchi hopes a good crowd comes to hear the bands playing his festival.

“I want it to something that’s fun and want people to come and enjoy a day out,” he says when asked about his hopes for the event’s first year. “If you go to something like [the now-defunct hard rock festival] Rock on the Range, you pay 20 to park and you have to walk half a mile to get in and then you spend 20 for a beer. You spend constant money. I want Summit Fest to be large enough but have it be something you can really enjoy without corporate costs.”

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