SOS Music Festival Returns August 28th

5th Annual Celebration Promises To Be Bigger & Better Than Ever

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, National Music,   From Issue 917   By: Robert E Martin

05th August, 2021     0

For promoters (and musicians) Carl Abila & Pat Kuhn the excitement and anticipation are rapidly mounting as they prepare to stage their fifth SOS Music Festival on Saturday, August 28th at Saginaw’s premier live entertainment venue The Vault.  

Utilizing three large stages outdoors and one indoors, after they were compelled to put last year’s festival on hold due to the Pandemic, the pent-up desire shared between artists and audiences alike to share the joy and release of live original music resulted in an unprecedented number of requests from bands and artists eager to take to the stage for this novel event - the end result being one of the best and most diverse line-ups in the history of the festival.

Confirmed bands include headliners Smile Empty Soul, Tiger Sex, Choking Susan, The Mongrels, MPD, Here After Six, Shadow People, Havoc & Harmony, The 2nd System, Adaboy!, The Mercurials, The Crushtones, Sizzlechop, Silversport, Born, The Ten Band, and more to be announced.

The concept for the SOS Festival (which stands for ‘Save Our Scene’) evolved out of Carl & Pat’s mutually shared desire to keep things alive in the local original music scene. “It stemmed from what Pat achieved with production of the Altered Skin Revolution festivals that used to be held on Hamilton Street and proved to be very successful, so we wanted to keep the ball rolling,” explains Carl. 

“We always worked together well and our focus is based on original and local acts, which we mix up with regional and sometimes national acts,” he continues. “The first one was a nightmare because we planned to stage it at Vet’s Park in Bay City, only got rained out so had to move it to the street. After I moved back to Saginaw, we decided to put the festival at White’s Bar because we wanted it bigger. Pat’s always helped me build this thing, so now here we are with The Vault serving as our venue, which because of its spaciousness and the large size of its parking lot opens up tremendous possibilities.”

“We actually thought about staging the festival on Ojibway Island last year,” adds Pat, “but couldn’t use anything because of COVID, so this year what’s exciting is that all three of our performance stages will be major stages and none of our featured bands will be performing on a small stage.  Plus, I think its good for the festival to have an actual ‘home’, instead of using the street or the Island where once the show is over people tend to leave. This way we can highlight the end of the night and we have a lot of room to spread out.”

In terms of the line-up at this year’s SOS Festival, headliners Smile Empty Soul first formed back in 1998 and in 2003 released their self-titled debut album, which yielded three singles Bottom of a Bottle, Nowhere Kids and Silhouettes; plus the album certified gold two years later in 2005. Subsequently the group has released 7 additional albums.  “They’ve just released a new album,” notes Carl, “and we were working on a couple other national acts but COVID hit, so most of the bands featured this year are more regionally oriented.  It’s amazing how many bands reached out to us wanting to play the festival,”

“I think the hunger of wanting to perform as resulted in us getting bands submitting themselves to us from all over the place,” adds Pat. “We’ve been getting stuff from Oregon and Texas and how these bands are catching wind of our festival is both amazing and very cool.”

“I actually listen to all the bands that approach us,” notes Carl. “I’ve learned a lot working with music over the years and just because I don’t like a band doesn’t mean I won’t put them into the line-up just because their music isn’t my cup of tea.  That’s because I respect music that much.  If a band is really good at what they do we are always interested; but mainly, the bands performing at SOS range from light rock to punk to heavy metal to thrash, but it’s mostly rock. We do have some diversity acts on the bill this year such as Adaboy!  We like diversity, but in the ends this festival is a rock show.”

In addition to the broad musical line-up and more space, this year’s SOS Festival will also be featuring four Food Trucks for patrons to sample, along with several cool vendors. Hyperman Productions will be handling the sound.

Regarding particular bands featured at this year’s festival that caught Carl’s attention,  he points out a couple that he urges patrons to catch. “Choking Susan is a band I’m looking forward to seeing,” he notes. “They feature a female singer and are punk-rock oriented and seem like they’ll be really fun to watch. I also have always loved Tiger Sex, which also feature a female vocalist; but I like the female singers. As a general rule they tend to offer something different besides the obvious.”

“Locally, I believe that Shadow People are really good,” adds Pat. “They feature a couple of my old band mates and their music has that Miscreant feel to it and a heavier edge; but they are making a stink right now and drawing lots of people and performing good solid professional shows.  Another guy from Detroit who bills himself as Havoc & Harmony is a one-man show featuring guitar and drum tracks and a light show that is pretty cool.”

“What I think is important about the SOS Festival is that it represents an opportunity to welcome back musicians and fans that had nothing to do before,” concludes Pat. “If you’re not a cover band or a DJ as a general rule, you’re not playing a lot around this region, so that gives us a spark. Mixing that with the Vault crowed will offer a more eclectic edge to things and I’m also excited to see some new faces.”

“The more people who come out and support the SOS Festival will only allow it get bigger and better; but without peoples’ support, we won’t get anything.  I feel this is going to be a good turning point for our regional scene and am excited for it all to come together.

Tickets for the SOS Music Festival are only $15.00 online and $20.00 the day of the show and can be purchased now by going to httPs:// performance schedule will be out on the SOS Music Festival Website prior to the event.




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