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The Allman Betts Band Headline and Heats Up 2nd Annual Rock Autism Music Festival

Devon Allman and Duane Betts, sons of superstars Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts of the famed Allman Brothers Band, have forged their own partnership as The Allman Betts Band. On August 31st they will perform in Ellicottville Village Park in Ellicottville, NY as the main attractions for the Rock Autism Music Festival and Autism Awareness Fair. Gates open at 4pm. This year the Rock Autism Music Festival will bring attention to its music and film training initiative, the Rock Autism Multimedia Vocational Program, that assists individuals diagnosed with autism to cultivate enough skills to be employable and become part of the entertainment industry by gaining specialized training in some of the technical aspects of the music and movie business.


Rock Autism Festival founder, musician, and recording artist, Max Muscato will also perform with his brother, drummer Sonny Muscato, who is living with autism, but thrives on music. Together with their father Marc on drums and percussion, Max and Sonny are known to deliver electrifying family performances. Adding to the uncompromised musical quality, highlights for the festival include Blues and Soul musicians, Handsome Jack fresh off their European tour, and Buffalo native, the dynamic LA Livetronic musician, EDALO, are making a special trips to be part of this event.

Handsome Jack

Max Muscato reflects on the struggles his young brother, Sonny, has faced from the beginning when he was diagnosed with autism at four years old. Sonny suffered grave consequences when at age 18 many of the services that once supported him were cut off without options and opportunities for continued help. “There’s nowhere for them to go; they slip through the cracks and so do their families,” commented Max. Max further lamented, “My brother was lost for years battling autism symptoms, unemployment, and drug abuse. The only thing that saved him was playing music.”

Because Max witnessed the grim reality many youth living with autism must face on a daily basis, he established Rock Autism to promote awareness of the condition and the need for greater support. Rock Autism is a non-profit organization empowering youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder by training them to have the necessary skills to potentially build a future in the creative arts. Rock Autism shines a spotlight on what it means to live the diagnosis, and raises funds specifically to develop and implement local music, film and arts programs that serve youth and adults on the spectrum.

The goal is to spark the pursuit of higher education and ignite an entrepreneurial spirit within the Western New York autism community by giving them access to industry-level workshops in music, film, art, and design. As it stands now, 90% of young adults on the spectrum are unemployed. Rock Autism Multimedia Vocational Programs will shift the trajectory of youth and young adults living with autism and help reduce that staggeringly high unemployment rate. The various programs allow them to carve out a career path and gain employment in the arts and cultural industry. This initiative has a deep and long- lasting impact on the individuals who enroll in and complete the program by empowering them with choices for their futures.

This is the 2nd Annual Rock Autism Festival and Autism Awareness Fair taking place August 31st in Village Park in Ellicottville, NY. Gates opens at 4 pm. Pre-sale admission is $25 with VIP packages at $75. Children 12 and under are free.

Partnerships for this year’s festival include Funtime Presents, Sensu Music, Villaggio Restaurant, People Inc., Hodgson & Russ Attorneys, Labatt Blue, 103.3 The Edge Ellicottville Brewing Co., and Holiday Valley Ski Resort. Holiday Valley is offering discounted rates to all Rock Autism Music Festival participants. In addition to music, the festival will feature an Autism Awareness Fair with local vendors and family fun activities throughout the day. The Rock Autism Music Festival directly benefits music, art and vocational programs at The Autism Center at Oishei Children’s Hospital, People Inc., Autism Services of Western New York and The Summit Center.

For tickets or more details or information, please contact: 716-622-7647.

Photo credits: Glen Murray


Written by Mark Lazzara

Mark Lazzara

I have a passion for helping my fellow Western New Yorkers and advance the great things that are going on in this region. Buffalo Rising is a great booster and it’s a blast writing and contributing to BR about positive happenings in our neck of the woods. I appreciate the help I’ve received over the years from organizations and people who share my passion and supported me in efforts that put thousands of people to work and resulted in a community give back of more than $115M to Buffalo’s neediest during my days at the helm of AmeriCorps.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that enabled me to help cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuild more than 700 family homes that were destroyed. Back at home, I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as a coordinator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where we were able to repair, beautify and upgrade homes for an entire neighborhood on Buffalo’s Westside. Other projects close to my heart include a collaboration with Sail Buffalo to build the Cazenovia Boating Center at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and my annual Christmas season time is spent at Buffalo’s treasure, the Broadway Market, playing Santa Clause.

In my other life, I am a workforce development, business, marketing, public relations and fundraising professional. Earned a M.S. Human Service Management from Buffalo State, and enjoy my family life that includes four amazing grandchildren!

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