"Shop local" is a commonly heard phrase in central Ohio, but when it comes to the Ox Roast, "rock local" applies, too.
The entertainment lineup for the Grandview Heights fest always emphasizes local talent, said "head ox" Todd Horning said.
"Almost all of the bands performing at the festival are Grandview or Marble Cliff residents, and even our headliner on Friday night, the League Bowlers, has a guitar player who lives in Grandview," he said.
The fest's first night will include the first performance by 50 Steps Up, a new band featuring Grandview resident Aaron Young; his oldest son, Nick; and his middle son, Aidan; as well as drummer and Grandview resident Pete Nichols (also the entertainment chairman of the Ox Roast) and bassist Adam Steere.
50 Steps Up will take the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at Pierce Field, at the corner of Northwest Boulevard and West First Avenue. The event runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Sept. 5, 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.
Aidan Young, 17, is a senior at Grandview Heights High School and a member of the marching band.
Nick Young attended and played in the marching band at Grove City High School and was a four-year member of the marching band at Ohio State University, where he is a senior majoring in music education. Steere also attends Ohio State and was a member of the Grove City High School band.
"I've been wanting to put a band together with my sons for some time," Aaron Young said. "This is just about the last year we're going to be able to do it, since Aidan will be going to college in Florida and Nick is planning to move to upstate New York after he graduates from OSU next spring."
"Music's always been a huge part of our lives," Aidan Young said. "We have a connection through music. You can see it when we get together and play."
He plays the trombone in Grandview's marching band, and just started learning keyboards when 50 Steps Up formed about two months ago.
"The keyboards provide a new aspect to playing music, especially when you can get 1,000 different sounds out of the keys," he said. "There's only one basic sound you can get out of a trombone."
After years of playing in marching bands, Nick Young said he is enjoying playing in a smaller combo.
"Marching band is a team effort, but on a higher scale than a rock band," he said. "This is also a team effort, but it's on a more individual basis. If you mess up with a small rock band, it's a lot more noticeable. There's less of a safety net.
"It's a lot of fun playing guitar again and playing it with other people, not just playing along with music by yourself in your room," Nick Young said.
50 Steps Up plays classic-rock songs from the 1970s through the 2000s, Nichols said.
The band's repertoire includes tunes by the Black Crowes, Tom Petty, Van Halen and even an Elvis Presley song or two.
"You gotta play a song by Elvis," Nichols said.
Playing the Ox Roast will be special, Aaron Young said.
"I grew up in this house," he said about his family's current home. "It was my grandfather's and I used to lay awake at night and hear the music wafting in from the Ox Roast. We moved back here nine years ago. To get to be part of the entertainment and playing with my sons for our family and friends, it's going to be a surreal experience."
"I've been going to the Ox Roast since I was in fourth grade," Aidan Young said. "I've always been interested in the music. It's a big part of the Ox Roast. Without the music, it wouldn't be as much of a festival. I can't wait to play."