In an incredible twist of fate, two familiar entities have come together in a refreshingly Buffalo way. Remember The Yard at Rock Harbor? An inspirational art and music project that almost got off the ground, with Ed Hogle (president Atlas Steel and Steel Crazy) at the helm. Then recall The Slyboots School of Music, and director Griffin Brady’s search for a home in the city? As fate would have it, Griffin and Ed have come together to forge a relationship that will help to fulfill Ed’s vision of weaving a cultural web at Rock Harbor, and Griffin’s desire to foster non-traditional artists and creatives in a controlled environment.
Not only will Buffalo be retaining Slyboots, and not only will Rock Harbor have new inhabitants, the resulting confluence will give birth to a “new” festival for the city called Slyfest 8: Urban Edition – to be held at The Yard at Rock Harbor on September 21 & 22, 2013. Slyfest was originally founded in Fredonia sever years ago, as a fundraising vehicle for Slyboots School of Music. The festival then moved to Warsaw, and then Griffis Sculpture Park after that.
This year the city of Buffalo is the lucky recipient of Slyfest, bringing with it a weekend full of interactive workshops, lots of drumming, world class dance troupes, fire dancing, etc. The two-day affair is slated to draw together musicians, Hula hoopers (Buffalo Hoop Group), artists, bike advocates (GO Bike Buffalo bike valet), and a host of other Buffalo characters.
Boy does this bring back memories of hosting my own artistic efforts at The Yard. I remember when the stage was built, the day the mascot (the big blue boat) was delivered, the giant games of Scrabble, the fleeting flea market… the various attempts to get a similar vision off the ground.
Those days The Yard at Rock Harbor hinged on Ed Hogle’s effort to build dorms for Buffalo State College. When those efforts were not realized, The Yard slowly faded away… but I always felt that if the right group was turned onto the compound, the flame would be reignited and The Yard would burn bright once again.
Not only will Griffin be utilizing The Yard for artistic purposes, Ed will be fixing up a house on the property in order for Slyboots to have a permanent headquarters. Considering that we almost lost Slyboots to the winds of fortune (and someday fame), I can’t believe that we have managed to fashion together these scattered puzzle pieces in such a short time frame. As Griffin put it so well, “It’s a story filled with struggle, suspense and ultimately resolution.” We are fortunate that the stars aligned for Slyboots and Slyfest to be part of the evolving Buffalo story.
Now it’s up to the community to support this artistic effort by purchasing tickets to Slyfest 8: Urban Edition. Let’s keep the momentum rolling…
The Saturday portion of the festival happens to coincide with the Music is Art festival. If you’re hitting up MiA on Saturday, then it’s a quick bike ride to Rock Harbor, along the bike trail that bounds Scajaquada Creek (Jesse Kriegel Bike Path). If you use the GO Buffalo bike valet service your first beer is free!
For more information on Slyfest 8: Urban Edition, click on the event’s Facebook page.
Slyfest 8: Urban Edition | The Yard @ Rock Harbor | 57 Tonawanda Street (at Niagara Street in the city) | $10 | September 21 & 22 | Ages 12 + under free | Donations to support Slyboots’ relocation effort