Geneseo’s First Sunset Music Fest to Strike Community Chord

(Photo/Conrad Baker)

GENESEO – A few remarkable SUNY Geneseo students have whipped up a music festival that booked a Buffalo radio host.

The first ever Geneseo Sunset Music Festival on May 6 will be a charitable all-day show to benefit Teresa House in the Village. Nine acts and counting are currently booked, including Ponder the Giraffe, the in-demand band around town composed entirely of members of the class of 2017, who will act as hosts of the event. The show has a commitment for a solo performance by Chelsea O’Donnel, head of the ‘Localized’ segment on Alternative Buffalo 107.7, which is a big deal for Western New York.

Sun Market

“It started as just a conversation last summer,” said Gabriel Birkby, guitar/vocalist for Ponder the Giraffe. “It grew and grew and now looks like it’s going to be a pretty sweet event.”

The show is from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on May 6. Admission is free, but Ponder the Giraffe will be accepting monetary donations of any amount. A portion of these donations will go to Teresa House, which offers comfort care ministry to residents nearing the end of terminal illness.

Festival wristbands will sell for $1. Wear one of these wristbands at Kelly’s Saloon for a $0.50 discount on any drink.

Organizers said that the momentum behind the show is rooted in the College and Village’s mutual love for music.

“There’s a need to reunite the College and Village,” said Birkby. “There has been so much negativity lately.”

There will be an open mic from 4 to 5 p.m., with a guitar and amp provided. The lineup so far is as follows, as per the Geneseo Sunset Festival 2017 Facebook Page.

Ponder the Giraffe:
Three piece alternative/jam band. Based out of Geneseo, Ponder the Giraffe is, according to Kris Kielich of The Public, an eclectic, talent driven alternative jam band that has caught the ears of many since their inception in 2015. Ponder consistently produces music that “never ceases to blow me away (Jacob Frasier, 91.3 WBNY).”

Stress Dolls:
Chelsea O’Donnel brings a blend of underground alternative and nostalgic pop together in her newest project. Don’t miss Chelsea’s acoustic performance of her original tunes. Chelsea has had her finger on the pulse of local music for years now, and heads the localized segment on Alternative Buffalo 107.7. Her segment has featured music from a number of SUNY Geneseo bands in the past year.

Donner Dance Party:
Instrumental rock and ambient bliss defines the sounds created by this mathy trio (sometimes even four or five members!). Held down by Matt Heaton and Steve Dana, DDP has been all over the state playing gigs. From Geneseo, to Rochester, to Ithaca, DDP has started making waves this past year as they bring their lo-fi vibe to hi-fi real life!

Lives on North Street, playing this show instead of doing his homework, crafting short, concentrated songs out of self-deprication and good will. Folksy, rapsy, nervous, and cool.

Basement rockers Nappetizers will have you dancing in no time. This group always stands out with their catchy hooks, thoughtful originals, and tribute to the nearby ice cream/gas station place Byrne Dairy.

Matt Rapoza brings his blend of chill vibes and catchy guitar hooks to the fest. For fans of Glass Animals and BoomBox, Rapoza uses never ceases to impress the audience with his dense instrumental compositions and smooth-as-butter voice. Be on the lookout for a future EP release. You’ll be sure to see Spectre around the Rochester area in the coming months as well!

Woodrow Chillson:
Folk rock shredders Woodrow Chillson have a knack of mixing super introspective lyrics and engaging instrumental work together to make a really rich blend of music. Alex Fantauzzo’s songwriting has been a staple in the Geneseo music scene since his time in Exile on Court Street. Together with Josh Slater (drums) and Adam Ontiveros-Oberg (bass), this trio (sometimes more) will have you looking up their SoundCloud for more. Oh, here that is now (below)

Geneseo Stringband:
Geneseo’s finest classical folk string band will be playing a selection of tunes that’re commonly used for dancing. Of course, we encourage dancing at the fest so if you’re around to see this set, we hope you’ll bring your dancing shoes and get down with us at this rare opportunity to see the string band perform! Jim Kimball is a legend at the school, and he’ll be heading the group for their set at the Geneseo Sunset Festival.

Kale & Friends:
Kalil Hendel is an artist! He writes music reminiscent of some of the best acoustic folk/emo/indie tunes out there. Kalil will be joined by his friends to play a special set at the Sunset Festival. He also made the amazing poster for the festival! So come down to show your support for an artist who also writes awesome tunes.

(Photo/Conrad Baker)