Sunday Sober Song Series at Camp Washington's Chase Public disengages live music from drinking culture

Sunday afternoon's fourth installment offers three acts performing free in an environment that is sober and inclusive rather than tipsy and exclusive, organizers say

click to enlarge Joy Ike (seated) performs at Chase Public in July. - PHOTO: Marcus Donaldson
PHOTO: Marcus Donaldson
Joy Ike (seated) performs at Chase Public in July.

This Sunday (August 12) from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chase Public and Marisa Seremet are presenting the fourth installment of the Sunday Sober Song Series in Camp Washington. (Doors open at 5 p.m.) According to Chase Public's website, "This is a chance to disengage the enjoyment of live music from drinking culture. We hope that this can be an opportunity for sober, family-friendly fun and interaction with a music scene that is too often tipsy and exclusive. All ages encouraged! Bring your children, bring your parents, bring your grandparents. Do not bring your beer or your booze. Bubbly Water? A-Okay."

The musical lineup includes Villa Mure, a danceable bluesy Rock band from Louisville; Blossom Hall, a Garage Pop band; and experimental spoken-word-with-beats artists Fruit LoOops.

At the July Sunday Sober Song Series gathering, some 30 people of all ages, including a few young children, gathered at Chase Public's front room to hear Brianna Kelly of Soften play her quietly transfixing songs and Pop-Jazz songwriter/vocal stylist/keyboardist Joy Ike of Philadelphia and her band play a long, exciting set. 

Seremet explained where she got the idea for the series. "I have so many friends who have kids or don't drink and the shows around here are late and in bars," she said. "They can't go. And those who go but don't drink feel uncomfortable."

She also said musicians like Kelly benefit from playing for a sober crowd. "Her lyrics are so storytelling-based, so better in this environment because people are interested. Everybody is real quiet."

Between sets, Scott Holzman of Chase Public explained to the audience how the series aims to be different from much of the live local music scene in Cincinnati. "Around here, concerts are free and tacitly supported by the purchase of alcohol," he said. "It's so nice to tell musicians we appreciate what they do and we don't need to have to go to a bar to support them and buy three drinks."

Chase Public, a collaborative space for art and assembly that is applying for non-profit status, is at 2868 Colerain Ave. in Camp Washington. The Sunday Sober Song Series shows are free; donations accepted. More information: chasepublic.com.