There’s a difference between being in the concert business and the community business. Perhaps the latter is a bit more lucrative, but for John Hampton–founder of Hampton Productions–the community is what counts. That’s why tomorrow’s OC Music Showcase Festival in Huntington Beach feels like a revival of sorts.
Anyone who was around 10 years ago for the OC Music Awards era can attest to the fact that fans did get together a lot more often to champion the bands that were bound to break out and local shows just seemed to matter more. Even though today’s music scene feels like a different animal, Hampton is confident that great local bands of all stripes still need our support.
This weekend, Hampton’s brought veteran rock bands Jeramiah Red (fresh off a year-long hiatus) and Robert Jon & The Wreck together again with rollicking folk troupe Moonsville Collective, new band Mega Low (featuring members of The Gromble), and the outlaw twang of Ted Z and the Wranglers together for one big album release show in the parking lot of Wahoo’s Fish Taco in Huntington Beach.
In addition to rocking out to a full roster of bands, the event also features craft beer and spirits tastings from companies around OC with the main bar sponsored by Sierra Nevada.
“This year is Hampton Productions’ 15th year in business so we’re celebrating our 15th year anniversary but before doing a big party,” Hampton says. “For that I said let’s do a good record release show, something different that gives back to the community and the Orange County music scene.”
As an event producer and promoter in Orange County, this is the kind of event Hampton believes is essential to the survival of local music. Adding the element of local bands, craft breweries, restaurants and corporate sponsors brings a level of collaboration to a much higher level and gives fans an experience rather than just a show. The event will be followed by an after party with ’90s tribute band Sega Genecide.
“We wanna get that involvement with corporate sponsorships as well in our community here in Orange County, I think bringing the community together with music is always great and we’re trying to welcome them in to support this kind of growth as well,” Hampton says.
On the music side of things, it’s been a while since we’ve seen all of these bands share the same stage. Each armed with brand new albums and new music, this group of buddy bands are psyched to share the stage again.
“We started playing in Orange County with J-Red and we came up in this scene together, we’re still friends with those guys and see them all the time, it’s just like all of our friends throwing a party,” Robert Jon Burrison says. With his band poised to release their album Take Me Higher and spend most of their summer touring Europe, this OC show is a chance to debut new tracks and reclaim a community vibe that they think has been lost in the music scene as of late.
“The goal is creating a community in OC based around music so we wanna make awareness of that and bring that community factor back and trying to figure out what that means in this era of music,” Burrison says.
For Jeramiah Red, the chance to come back and reprise their role as one of the dominating bands in OC is a great feeling on the heels of recording a self-titled album, their first one in about a decade.
“The whole plan was to come back and do a 10 year reunion an do a one off, we’re all dads now pretty much so its tough but everybody’s down to do it,” says guitarist and singer Ian Cullen. “We had all these songs but we never recorded any of it so now we just got to do the whole album and we’re even talking about doing another one so it’s pretty cool.”
With all of these different bands hanging out and supporting each other and even playing in each other’s bands over the years, this event carries a special significance that will hopefully out last just one event.
“It takes bands helping other bands together to do something really great,” Hampton says.
If we could stop being competitive and more of a community and realizing we’re all in this together, it would really benefit all of us.”
OC Music Showcase Festival with Robert Jon and the Wreck, Jeramiah Red, Moosville Collective, Mega Low and Ted Z and the Wranglers, Sat. May 11, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, 7981 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 4 p.m., for details and info, click here.