A new three-day celebration to be held in downtown Utica. The family-friendly event will bring in performers, musicians and street vendors, according to organizers with The Event Company.
Funk Evolution appears opening night. The high energy horn fueled Funk, Rock, R&B, Soul and fusion group is fronted by powerhouse vocalist Sabrina Grogan, who draws on the talents of the other seven members to propel her to great musical heights, bringing everyone in the crowd along for the ride. Members of Funk Evolution have performed with Trans Siberian Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, the Average White Band, George Clinton’s Parliament and Funkadelic and the Grass Roots.
Jimmy Vivino & The BlueSoul Rockers will be the Friday music headliner.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a legendary Blues or Rock guitarist on the planet that doesn’t consider Vivino one of the best guitarists of his generation. Jimmy elected to forego the road warrior life of a touring musician for a career without the wear and tear. He found what he was looking for when he landed the gig of being the Music Director/guitarist and arranger on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien in 1993. Jimmy still serves in that capacity for O’Brien on his current show.
During his tenure, he’s had the opportunity to perform with and impress many artists he has great admiration for – and to earn theirs. A gig like that keeps Vivino from being able to tour often, but he liked the idea of playing Utica Summer Fest so much that he put together an east coast tour to make it possible.
Vivino has also produced, performed with or arranged for artists including Slash, Joe Walsh, Levon Helm, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, Joe Bonamassa, Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, the Tedeschi Trucks Band Johnnie Johnson, Gov’t Mule and many others.
immy expressed an interest in having an area musician join him during his set. The highly regarded and accomplished Monk Rowe will do that and perform an opening set at Utica Summer Fest on Friday, June 23.
Saturday night’s musical attraction is the go-to band for Margaritaville venues and a group that landed Trop Rock band of the year honors. The Boat Drunks have also performed with Jimmy Buffett and members of his Coral Reefer Band and Little Feat on a number of occasions. From the first notes they play, the Utica Summer Fest crowd will know why they are one of the most sought out bands for an event like this. Summer songs on a young summer night… what better way to welcome the new season!
Several of the region’s best food trucks will be on-site during Summer Fest hours and McCraith Beverages will have the Beer & Wine Garden stocked with reasonably priced, ice cold adult beverages. A variety of their non-alcohol refreshments will also be available in all-ages areas of the festival.
Fidelis Kids Zone will feature activities for youngsters. Kids can also take a shot at scoring against Audie on the Utica Comets street hockey rink. The young at heart can compete shooting hoops, with the low scorer winning a slight soaking. Other games and activities will also be available, and the Utica Zoo will be on-site with some two, four and no-legged creatures.
Each night, someone attending Utica Summer Fest in especially festive attire will be rewarded with $500! Thursday is the celebration of the Summer Solstice. Dress and act the part and win the crowd’s approval and you could win! Come to Utica Summer Fest Friday in a 1970’s outfit in celebration of the Killabrew Saloon’s over 40 years in business for the chance to win. Saturday, CNY Sealcoating will be looking for the best Parrothead outfit who will pocket the prize after The Boat Drunks set.
Further information about the bands, other entertainers, activities and attractions on tap during Utica Summer Fest are available at uticasummerfest.com.