Download 2016 Performance Schedule

This year marked the passing of Dave Adams, a beloved performer at the festival. Like many of us, Dave adopted Buffalo as his home—and brought along with him some amazing talents and stories. If you got him talking, he’d eventually open up about his years working with legendary British music producer Joe Meek, opening for the Rolling Stones in the 1960s with his band Heinz and the Wild Boys (featuring Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore), or cutting his first record at EMI with Beatles’ producer George Martin as the engineer. Dave’s story a good reminder of why we should all actively celebrate Buffalo’s reputation as The City of Good Neighbors. As we share our stories with each other, enjoy meals, make music, create art, and maybe even dance together, we are not only personally enriched, we also continue to knit the complex fabric that makes our city a vibrant and exciting place to call home. (And if you’d like to start by learning more about Dave, stop by the 7-11 Tent on Saturday at 2pm to enjoy songs and stories from his friend and musical collaborator Joe Bellanti.)

Michelle PerkinsPerformance
Committee Chair
Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts


Dance Tent

Saturday (8/27)

10:00am — Birdie Cree(

Birdie Cree

Birdie Cree grew out of a Thursday-night jam hosted by guitarist and vocalist Mark Booth. That first session had four people in attendance, including Mark Carrig (bass). The jam eventually evolved into a five piece group called the Acousticasters, which featured Mary Polinchock (violin). When the trio decided to focus on roots style music, Birdie Cree was born. Birdie Cree has performed at the Rapids Theater in Niagara Falls, Asbury Hall in Buffalo, the Lewiston Opera House, and the Tonawanda Folk Festival.

11:00am – Hot Club of Buffalo (

The Hot Club of Buffalo plays a brand of jazz known as gypsy swing or gypsy jazz. The style was created in the 1930’s by the legendary two-fingered guitarist, Django Reinhardt. Gypsy jazz blends American big band swing with exotic European gypsy sounds. The group adds some modern twists to the traditional forms—riffs from Bach, Jimi Hendrix, and Steely Dan are as common as quotes from Django. And dance-friendly world music, like bossa nova, choro, and rhumba are a part of every show. So is improvisation. You never know what’s going to happen next!

12:00pm — Tyler Westcott & Friends (


Tyler Westcott appears around Buffalo in The Pizza Trio, Black Rock Zydeco, and his own award-winning Folkfaces. For the Elmwood Festival, Tyler is assembling a unique line-up of performers for a rowdy, rootsy folk-jazz-blues dance party you won’t want to miss. Prepare to hear sounds from the mountains of Appalachia to the deltas of Mississippi, the swamps of Louisiana to the Concrete Jungle of the Rustbelt.

1:00pm — Alassane Sarr and N’Dias(

The music of N’Dias is rooted in the African tradition. Through its performances, the band strives to build awareness for the beauty and excitement of West African dance and drumming. Though their art is based on tradition, they cover a broad range of musical styles, from ancient to contemporary. Leader Alassane Sarr is an internationally renowned artist and is a fourth generation Griot, from Dakar, Senegal. He performed with Les Ballet Africains and Silimbo D’Adeane, among many other groups, before immigrating to the U.S.

2:00pm — Slyboots Circus (

The Slyboots Circus is a multicultural experience like none other. Featuring master musicians, dancers and performers from around the world, The Slyboots Circus is an interactive, entertaining and inspiring collective of some brilliantly creative and talented artists. Combining elements of traditional West African music and dance, Chinese acrobatics, Contemporary Dance, magic and Jazz – patrons can expect an engaging experience that is guaranteed to make bodies move and get hands clapping. Promoting the mission of the Slyboots School in Buffalo, NY- positive social change through cultural arts education- the Slyboots Circus performs at festivals, schools, universities and clubs across the US annually. We are excited to share this cultural experience with you and yours.

Western New York has one of the most vibrant communities of Cajun/Zydeco dancers and musicians outside of Louisiana. Come share in the spirit of the bayou and Mardi Gras with these spirited, dance-inducing performances!

3:00pm – Black Rock Zydeco (

Black Rock Zydeco has become a festival crowd favorite for their raucous mix of original songs and Cajun/Creole favorites. Vocal harmonies, inventive arrangements, and an energetic stage presence all come together for a musical experience that gets crowds moving. This is booty-shakin’ party music—built on the spirit of community and celebration!

4:00pm — C’est Bon Cajun Dance Band (

What do you get when the women of NY’s top Cajun bands combine their musical talents? Full-throttle Cajun dance-hall music! C’est Bon consists Barbara Sanders on accordion, Susi Mills and Jane DeLisa on twin fiddles, Betsy Fuller on guitar, and Evelyn Schneider on bass. When these harmonious sisters get going, the house will be rocking’ and a good time is guaranteed for all.

5:00pm — Jesse Lege (

Cajun Music Hall of Fame member Jesse Lége brings traditional, foot-stompin’ Cajun dance hall music from the dusty back roads of southwest Louisiana—with an unmistakable hard-driving style of accordion play and a powerful voice that will get even the most staid listener up on the dance floor. He has performed at Festival Acadiens, the prestigious University of Chicago Folk Festival, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Sunday (8/28)

10:00am — Sacred Sounds Yoga (

Sacred Sounds is a flowing yoga class accompanied by live drums and is accessible to beginners and advanced practitioners alike. Start your Sunday out by letting the pulse of the drums guide you through a series of poses and movements opening your body, heart, and mind.

11:00am — La Marimba (

La Marimba is an acoustic group that brings authentic Mexican and Central American tunes to Western New York. Their original arrangements, crafted by Tiffany Nicely, are performed on marimba and drum set. This unique combination offers a collection of sweet tunes, toe-tapping grooves, and inspired improvisation.

12:00pm — Volver (

Volver is a four piece group that re-interprets different styles of world music—ranging from Cumbia and Brazilian to Klezmer and Gipsy. The surprising arrangement of accordion, flute, upright bass, and percussion bring a colorful, lively, danceable and sometimes jazzy feel to these songs from around the globe.

1:00pm — North Delta Duo (

Ron Davis is a versatile professional keyboardist who has performed with The Four Tops, Otis Rush, Spencer Davis, Sean Costello, Bernard Purdie, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. He’s well known around WNY as the leader of LeeRon Zydeco and the Hot Tamales. In the North Delta Duo, Davis pairs up with drummer/vocalist Pete Holguin to play original blues, soul, and zydeco tunes. In January of this year, the band headed to Memphis to represent Buffalo in the Blues Hall of Fame’s International Blues Challenge.

2:00pm — Cooper/Kane/Bacha (

This acoustic guitar/vocal trio features a solid lineup of Buffalo favorites. Gubb Cooper and Frieda Bacha (guitar, fiddle and vocals with the band No Illusions) are joined by Patrick J. Kane (lead guitarist with John & Mary and the Valkyries). They play an intriguing blend of folk, country, rock, and Americana—with lots of original songs and a few obscure covers. You’ll love the strong mix of guitar, fiddle, and vocal harmonies.

3:00pm — Sol y Sombra (

Featuring some of the area’s top jazz artists, Sol y Sombra is a standard-bearer for Latin jazz in Western New York. Led by acclaimed pianist Kevin Doyle, the band expresses a wide range of Puerto Rican/ Afro-Cuban musical forms including Mambo, Salsa, progressive and traditional, representing the musical heritage of multiple ethnicities embodied in the complexity of American life.

4:00pm — Ten Cent Howl (

Back before computers and cell phones and i-everything, there was music that spoke about the lives of our families and the generations before you or me—before Mom and Dad, before Grandma and Grandpa. It was the feeling of the soft blades of grass between your toes on a warm summer day; it was dancing with your best girl under the stars. It is where we come from and who we are. Generations later, Ten Cent Howl has distilled that experience into song once more..

7-11 Stage

Saturday (8/27)

10:00am — Kenarahdiyoh

Kenarahdiyoh (“good leaf” in English) has been a singer, songwriter, and activist for over 30 years, performing in support of human rights for farm workers and indigenous people as well as clean water for everyone. A longtime friend of Pete Seeger, to whom our festival is dedicated this year, Kenarahdiyoh will offer an entertaining and educational opening blessing featuring indigenous music.

11:00am — Junkyard Slow Drag

For some time now, two white males have been bravely adhering to established cultural norms by meeting periodically to do some pickin’. Despite this regrettable lack of external diversity, Greg Barresi and Chris Gainey have put together a set that is anything but. So, in the spirit of comprehensive and all-inclusive diversity—arguably the only thing that makes music such a universal source of aesthetic bliss—Greg and Chris invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy some loosely organized sounds.

12:00pm — The Observers (

Born out of the Allentown neighborhood in Buffalo, NY, The Observers take you on a journey of human experience. Their shows allow you to travel through a myriad of emotions from tear in your beer ballads, to remain-in-your-brain melodies, and even-strip-to-your-panties hootenannies.  

1:00pm — PA Line (Pa-Line-

Lancaster’s own PA Line are one of Buffalo's premier original bands. Their sound is akin to Mumford and sons or the Lumineers, but their songs and their incredible stage energy are all their own.

2:00pm — Joe Bellanti (

Joe Bellanti of Buffalo is a singer/songwriter & multi-instrumentalist but mainly a piano player. Playing a mix of rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie, rock and roll and Americana style music, Joe was classically trained on piano­—against his will—as a youth and started playing in a variety of bands during college following a transformative event in 1976. At this year’s festival, Joe will be playing a tribute to Dave Adams, a fellow piano player, prolific songwriter and good friend who passed away earlier this year.  Joe had the great honor of performing with Dave Adams at the Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts in 2014 and 2015 and will celebrate Dave’s life and work by performing some Dave Adams music as well as music and stories of his own that were inspired by their friendship.

3:00pm — Mike Brown (

In addition to a prolific career as a singer-songwriter and multi- instrumentalist, Grammy-nominated producer Mike Brown is an incredibly dynamic and versatile collaborator. His debut record, American Hotel, was self-recorded in all 50 states over the course of 8 years, and features a staggeringly diverse roster of special guests. In 2014 Brown released a CD with a childhood friend Zac DeCamp titled “Automatic Music Can Be Fun” and, with the help of Brian Grunert from White Bicycle Design Firm, was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Recording Package category against Jay-Z, David Bowie, Metallica, and Reckless Kelly.

4:00pm — Canal Street String Band (

With three voices, fifty-five strings and a pair of cow bones, The Canal Street String Band puts a brand-new shine on some seriously fun old American music. Fiddle tunes…sea shanties…cowboy songs…canal ditties…mountain music…western swing…and original, too, with banjo, fiddle, twin mandolins, string bass, dobro, bones, guitar octave mandolin, and three-part harmonies.

5:00pm — The Healing Committee (

The Healing Committee features three road tested singer songwriter instrumentalists and critically acclaimed recording artists Alan Whitney, Kathryn Koch and Tim Pitcher.  The trio will be performing an acoustic set of their original Americana based folk and soul music. Find out more about The Healing Committee on Facebook.

Sunday (8/28)

10:00am — Songwriter Showcase featuring Jess Chizuk and Marybeth King (,

Jess Chizuk is a singer/songwriter with indie-folk roots. Her soulful and genuine music has captivated people in her hometown of Buffalo NY and beyond, with her songwriting prowess being recognized and awarded nationwide. Inspired by lyricists of the past and present, Jess’s songs are driven by acoustic guitar and memorable melodies, brought to life by her own graceful, airy vocals.

MaryBeth King has been said to sound like Sarah McLachlan with her soothing, melodic voice. Armed with her left-handed acoustic guitar, she uses a loop pedal to add to her songwriting and live performances. Her rhythmic guitar playing, spot-looped percussion and backing vocals make for a multi-faceted live sound. With simplistic and catchy melodies, she takes her listener on a self-reflective journey of life and personal relationships of the past and present.

11:00am — Outofar Trio Jug Band

Taking an eclectic approach to traditional bluegrass and jug band music, Outofar Trio (as in “out of our tree, oh”) infuses their songs with pop, rock, and jazz influences. A festival veteran, these folks make the perfect addition to our family friendly atmosphere.

12:00pm — Vocal/A Capella Showcase featuring The Buffalo Dolls, 4-BLo, and The Lake Effect (,,”)

Western New York Music Educators, Donna Kerr, Rusty Droz, and Carolyn Unitas-Roos, founded The Buffalo Dolls in 2014. Since then, they have been delighting audiences with vintage-themed, three-part harmonies reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters.

As 4 B-Lo serenades and caresses your soul with their sweet and soulful harmonies, these young men are bringing back that real love music. While all being born in the 90's, 4 B-Lo is a blast from the past with a new school twist. Their sensual and smooth vocals will definitely present to you an invigorating and powerful experience you will remember for years to come.

The Lake Effect is Buffalo’s own a cappella group. The five guys in the band are dedicated to presenting Classic rock, R’n’B Jazz, Pop, Contemporary and Original songs, all with their voices. You may think you hear bass, drums, guitars and occasional harmonica solos, but they simply use the only instrument not made by mankind. The boys have performed across New York State and have brought their sound to people and pets of all ages! They don’t do this full time, so they have other “ jobs,” but their passion lies with making music with nothing but a microphone and an occasional ruler as needed.

2:00pm — Michael Schenkel (

Mountain dulcimer was a part of Michael Schenkel’s life long before he built his first instrument in 2009. Michael has a warm, deep voice like a strong, gentle beast that swallowed a storm. Michael sings original songs of of love, loss, and life well lived.

3:00pm — Brothers Blue (

The Brothers Blue are one leaf on a branch of an ever-growing string music tree in upstate New York.  They perform a vast repertoire of original and American folk traditionals, crossing the boundaries of bluegrass, old time and modern Americana.

4:00pm — Apen Family Bluegrass Band  (

The Apen Family Bluegrass Band, hailing from the historic village of East Aurora, NY, performs their own unique blend of bluegrass, country and folk music. The Apen children, Ed, Joe, Margaret, Mary Jean and Frannie, range in age from 3 to 18 years old. This talented, musical family performs at area music venues, festivals, coffee houses, and nursing homes as part of their ongoing music ministry. The Apen Family was just in the studio recording new material at the beginning of the 2016 year for their second full length CD which will be coming out this summer.

St. James Stage


Saturday (8/27)

10:00am — Mom Said No (

Drawing on influence from the Arkells, X Ambassadors, Death Cab for Cutie, Said The Whale, and Twenty One Pilots
Mom Said No is an alternative band from Buffalo, NY. With their first EP (“Motivation”) released this spring, members Elliott Hunt (singer/rhythm guitarist), Ben Mac (singer/bassist), Tim Jackson (singer), Chris Lillis (singer/keyboardist), Alex Gennaro (drummer), and Aaron Schapiro (lead guitarist/keyboardist) are becoming regulars at WNY’s music venues—and we’re excited to have them opening an amazing day of music at the St. James Stage.


11:00am — Seredipity Swing (

Serendipity Swing reflects a musical style from the era of dance halls, ballrooms, and hot jazz joints—music from the Golden Age of the Great American Songbook. Artful, fun, graceful, whimsical, and compulsively listenable, the tempos and rhythms of these great tunes will have you tapping your toes . . . and maybe even inviting your best girl to dance.

12:00pm — Grüvology (

Grüvology is recognized as one of Western New York’s most interesting ensembles of jazz music, writing and performance. With an acclaimed European tour in 2015, promoting a disc release in spring of 2014, the band has proven its appeal and longevity. In 2013, for the second year in a row, Grüvology was awarded the Buffalo Music Award for best Western New York Jazz group of the year. Walter Kemp, III was also voted best original keyboard player of the year. Additionally, Grüvology was the Artvoice art weekly staff pick for best jazz group in the 2012 Western New York Music Awards.

1:00pm—Ookla the Mok (

Ookla the Mok is rock music for nerds. Fronted by Rand Bellavia and Adam English, the band provided the theme song to Disney’s “Fillmore!” and scored the feature film “Bite Me, Fanboy!” They have won four Pegasus Awards for excellence in filk (sci-fi/fantasy fan) music, and the 2014 Logan Award for Outstanding Original Comedy Song (“Mwahaha”). In 2012 and 2013, Ookla the Mok had the most requested song on Dr. Demento’s syndicated radio show. If you’re ready for songs that poke fun at Aquaman or explore the relationship between King Kong and Godzilla, don’t miss this performance!

2:00pm—Grace Lougen and The Leftover Pancakes (

Grace Lougen & The Leftover Pancakes are a Blues/Rock group from Buffalo, NY. Members Grace Lougen, Caleb Saathoff, Ben Saathoff, and Linnea Cremean grew up listening to and playing a lot of classic and contemporary artists including Led Zeppelin, John Mayer, and Joe Bonamassa. Their original music encompasses the soul of old school blues and rock with a fresh modern flare.

3:00pm — Why Not? (

Why Not? is a jazz combo featuring some of Buffalo’s heavy hitters: Kevin Doyle on piano, Tim Clarke on trumpet, Mark Harris on bass, and David Phillips on drums. The group plays original music in addition to works by Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington, and other jazz masters.

4:00pm — John & Mary (

John & Mary and the Valkyries is a folk-rock band whose sound is based on the music from both their original compositions and collaborations with 10,000 Maniacs. The group has been performing for seven years to critical acclaim and an ever-growing audience. The band includes Kent Weber, Patrick Kane, Joe Rozler, and Robert Lynch. Together the band draws on many decades of musical experience, combining rock music with distinctive elements of classical, folk, traditional, and reggae. Their unique sound is both timeless and contemporary.

5:00pm—The Rockaz (

Chunky horns on a bed of spicy riddims and tangy guitar, topped with a nutritious blend of melodic and soulful vocals—that’s the Rockaz. Comprised of folk from all four corners of Buffalo, The Rockaz blend roots reggae, funk, ska, soul dub, hip hop, and down-home goodness in a sound the whole family can enjoy.

After Party

Multiple food vendors and the beer tent will be open! This family-friendly event is free, rain or shine, and open to all.

6:15pm — The Rockaz (

The Rockaz return to the stage for another short set, kicking off the after party!

7:00pm — Outer Circle Orchestra (

Lace up your dancing shoes and join us for an energizing performance by Buffalo’s world-beat wizards, the Outer Circle Orchestra (OCO). Taking their name from the African tradition of musicians surrounding the dancers for whom they are playing, OCO plays African-Caribbean and international music with a feel-good groove that makes it impossible to sit still. These guys bring the party wherever they go!