Having grown up and lived in East Aurora for my whole life, there's a certain closeness here that feels wholly unique to me, despite having traveled to many places around the country. It could just be the attachment from experiencing the quaint rituals and memories associated with being here as long as I have been, but to me it seems to go beyond that.
East Aurora Music Festival started jut a few years ago. Over the past three years, the number of people coming to enjoy the weather and the music has exploded. Coinciding with the development of hot new destinations in EA, including 42 North Brewing Company, the East Aurora Co-Op, and the Yoshi Sushi Bar, people are beginning to see East Aurora as a place to escape to, or perhaps a time capsule or a slice of Americana that's rarely found in other places.
The festival itself couldn't have fallen on a better day. It was 80 degrees but the heat was tempered by a slight breeze as crowds perused the town from one end to the other, visiting the more than 20 venues playing host to musicians. It was a chance to explore all that the town had to offer, from food to landmarks to the air of friendship and camaraderie. As I strolled around to catch as much of the festival as possible, I couldn't help but think that this is why people love to live here; for this experience. The festival is as much about the community as it is about the music.
But in terms of the music, I got to see a plethora of different acts, each of which offered something unique. Cross Eyed Crickets played Rookies Sports Bar at 2:30, and their combination of country/rootsy and '90s alternative was a highlight of the day. Keith James also was a pleasure, with his infectious acoustic renditions of radio pop songs. He played for a very enthusiastic crowd at 42 North, and later moved his act to in front of Yoshi.
On a more local level, I got to see a group of young drum students perform in front of Drums Unlimited, a business where drum lessons are offered. It was a great performance from budding musicians, and reminded me that it's never too late to learn an instrument (if I could choose one to learn it would be drums). Moving into the evening as it got cooler and a bit more bearable to walk around, Ten Cent Howl brought a bombastic and boisterous blues rock performance to 42 North, while Dave Constantino Band brought the classic rock vibe to East Aurora's most famous eatery, The Bar Bill. Ending my evening at Griffon Gastropub, Scott Celani brought some well done covers of classic and modern hits to an audience that was ready to party well into the night.
By the time I reached home I was proud to be a citizen of this town, so full of life and strong sense of community. Living and celebrating in EA is all about friends, good times, and days that seem to last forever, and by God if that wasn't what I experienced at Music Fest.
This is an event not to be missed.