Grammy Award Winning Band to Perform at Austin Dam Show

This is a special year for Austin, so what better time for an extra special Dam Show?

Paul Heimel

Organizers of the Saturday, July 23, music and cultural festival have released the schedule, which includes a tribute program commemorating the 100th anniversary of the tragic Sept. 30, 1911, flood. Local folk band Jakob’s Hollow and author Paul Heimel are teaming up for a program that will recall the failure of the Austin Dam on that fateful Saturday afternoon.

Jakob’s Hollow has prepared a song medley based on actual events of that day. The band’s performance will follow Heimel’s “The Dam Broke! A Dramatic Reading,” based on his new book, “1911: The Austin Flood” (knoxbooks.net). The program will include local actors reciting the actual words of flood survivors.

Jakob’s Hollow and author Paul Heimel are joining forces for a special program at the ninth annual Dam Show on Saturday, July 23, at the Austin Dam Memorial Park. They’ll mark the centennial of the 1911 Austin flood with a dramatic reading and song medley based on the tragedy.

“This presentation is sure to be a highlight of this year’s show,” said Art Metzger, entertainment coordinator for the Dam Show and a member of its sponsoring organization, the Austin Dam Memorial Association. “The haunting medley by Jakob’s Hollow transports listeners back to the day of the flood and that, along with the dramatic eyewitness accounts, is the perfect lead-in.”

Tickets are now on sale for the Dam Show, which is returning to Austin Dam Memorial Park. Prices (parking included) are $15 for those 18 and older, $5.00 for ages 13-17; those 12 and under will be admitted for free. Among ticket outlets are Gauld’s Corner Store and Olga’s Café in Coudersport, and Big Mike’s and Cockeyed Cricket in Austin. Tickets will also be available the gate.

With its new album, “Blue Heron Farm,” Chester River Runoff is getting national attention. The Runoff’s songs draw inspiration from all over the map, and setlists are sprinkled with covers from world-renowned artists, as well as songs the band has mined from old pre-bluegrass field recordings.

After the famous “Dam Jam” open mic starting at noon, featuring a variety of local performers, the festival kicks into high gear with professional performers. Among musicians booked as opening acts are Bradford’s Marshmellow Overcoat, Coudersport troubadour Tom Martin, and vocalist Grace Solomon from Dallas, Texas.

An opening block starting at 3 pm will feature the eclectic Freakish Owl Boy; a versatile jam band, Raw Dough, which includes Coudersport product Michael Kamper and other music school graduates from Ohio; and one of the show’s two headliners, Chester River Runoff.

A high-energy bluegrass band, the Runoff blends three- and four-part harmonies with intricate instrumentals. With the recent release of its debut studio album, “Blue Heron Farm,” Chester River Runoff has made a name for itself on the national bluegrass scene.

The flood tribute program will follow. Jakob’s Hollow will then take the stage for a set that features songs from its popular album, “The Legend of Bobby the Kid,” and a preview of its latest CD, which will be released soon.

Members of the Carolina Chocolate Drops combine instrumental and vocal excellence with a tribute to their musical roots. They’ll head the Dam Show on July 23 as it returns to the Austin Dam Memorial Park. Members, left to right, are Dom Flemons, Adam Matta, Hubby Jenkins and Rhiannon Giddens.

All of that sets the stage for the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops to close out the show starting at approximately 9 pm. They will arrive in Austin from two high-profile performances in New York.

Members sing and trade instruments including banjo, fiddle, guitar, harmonica, snare drum, bones, jug, and kazoo. Just this year, “beatboxer” Adam Matta and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins joined founding Drops members Dom Flemons and Rhiannon Giddens.

Once again, colorful and entertaining lights will bathe the ruins of the Austin Dam from dusk until the festival concludes at about 11 pm. Vendors are being booked to market their goods at the park. Food and rest rooms will be available. Parking is free and primitive camping sites have been established.

More details can be found on the event’s website, damshow.com. Assisting the Austin Dam Memorial Association in sponsoring the ninth annual Dam Show is the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, through its Partners in the Arts Program.


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