DIY Metal Concert Promoter Will Feiner Brings Transplant Fest Back This Weekend for Second Year

Featuring local, regional, national and international acts, the second-annual Transplant Fest goes down Saturday at Northside Yacht Club

Jul 9, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Show promotion is often a thankless job: putting together a lineup; partnering with a venue; spreading the word in the days and weeks leading up to the show itself; then making sure things go off without a hitch and everyone leaves happy and with a few extra dollars in their pockets.

It’s a lot to keep straight and the best shows are the ones when none of the steps listed above are of any concern to or even noticed by the audience. It takes a special kind of passion and drive to want to do the job even part-time; to do it fulltime takes a massive amount of dedication and love for the music and the scene.

And the ability to function on a sparse sleep schedule doesn't hurt either.

All of the traits above can be found in Will Feiner of Cincinnati Heavy Metal show promotion company Transplant Productions. Feiner’s basic back-story can be found in the name of his business. He was working a corporate position in Missouri and looking for a change. That change came in May of 2017 when he moved to Cincinnati and looked to return to the world of Heavy Metal.

“I had been in a band when I was in my early 20s in rural Missouri, playing local shows to 30 people, stuff like that," Feiner says. "I was booking for the band so that's where I got my start with that."

After moving to Cincinnati, Feiner quickly got the itch to get back into music. "I wanted to get back into the scene but I didn’t feel that I was capable enough as a musician to do that," he says. "So basically I was looking for anything I had some sort of experience with to help me get my foot in the door."

Prior to the move, Feiner had visited the Queen City on several occasions to visit friends and noticed an area of opportunity when it came to booking heavy music in town. Seven months after moving, Transplant Productions officially began in January 2018. From there he began to build relationships with bands and venues the old-school way: by walking in doors, shaking hands and introducing himself face-to-face.

This traditional mentality has been carried through all of Transplant Productions’ affairs, from working with the bands to make sure lineups are copacetic to ensuring that the venues understand the value that heavy music can bring to their stages to plastering the town with actual show posters in a day and age where a Facebook event is often all the promotion an event will ever get.

"From a promotional standpoint, I take a lot of pride in making sure there's paperwork everywhere in Cincinnati. Definitely I like the feet-to-the-ground kind of approach, making sure there's flyers in the places that people go,” Feiner explains. “It’s something that 10-12 years ago, when I was in a band, it made sense and I think that's been lost."

That personal, highly-involved style of promoting has earned Feiner and Transplant Productions a fair amount of praise and respect in a short amount of time, but it has also kept him quite busy with the day-to-day operation of the company. Feiner often puts in two separate 40-hour work weeks, one at Transplant and another at his "day job" (which is actually a "night job" — he manages a bar/restaurant). The packed schedule puts sleep squarely on the back burner sometimes.

“As long as I can get my sleep right, essentially I work two eight hour days,” Feiner says. “That’s my goal every day when I wake up is to do six to eight hours — treat it like a full-time job.”

That much work puts a strain on his work/life balance but any stresses are balanced out by Feiner's love for a scene that's been fostered in just two short years. In short order Feiner has grown Transplant Productions into a local show promotion company with simultaneous promise and gravitas. And it all started with the passion one metalhead had to see change in his own life and the drive to make that change.

"Sometimes things get pretty tough between managing at the other job and doing Transplant," Feiner says. "But I just reminding myself, ‘You do it because you care, you love it, you asked for it; this is what I wanted to be a part of.’ ”

Feiner’s hard work can be seen in his most recent lineup for the second-annual Transplant Fest, being held this Saturday, July 13 at Northside Yacht Club. Music begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18-$20.

Transplant Fest 2’s lineup features 12 top-of-the-line talents that offer fans of all kinds of Metal something to be excited about.

Cincinnati’s local scene is well represented with performances from four local favorites. Steampunk Power Metal favorites Automaton are back with and ready to re-introduce themselves with a revamped lineup.

Verment, the young Death Metal warriors are also on deck to rip through their blend of old and new DM — think Dissection and Black Dahlia Murder trying to out-gross each other out and you have an idea of what to expect.

Blessed Black is also on board to keep things rollings with their classic Doom stylings. Fans of picking apart riffs and powerfully emotive vocals will quickly fall in love with this quartet.

Rounding out the locals on the bill is a special one-time return to the stage for Cincinnati legends Machinations of Fate that’s not to be missed.

Ohio is well represented at Transplant Fest 2. Zuel hails from Dayton and brings a suite of instrumental songs that push expectations with off-kilter flourishes not often heard in the genre. Weed Demon from Columbus and if the name didn’t tip you off, these guys like to do nothing more than write heavy riffs and play them loud and slow.

Death and Black Metal are both seeing a bit of a resurgence as of late and it's repped well at this year's Transplant Fest by Cleveland Death Metal auteurs Inoculation and Laurelville, Ohio’s Dismemberment, as well as Pittsburgh’s Automb and Chicago’s Molder (who are making their Cincinnati debut.)

The show’s bill is also graced by two bands of note beyond the stacked local and regional lineup. First is New York’s own Negative Reaction. The sludgy veterans have been going at it for almost 30 years and are making a rare live appearance at the fest. Then there's the band that is traveling the greatest distance to Transplant Fest 2 — by a long shot. Serbian Blackened Death Metal band Bane is making their Cincinnati debut for what is sure to be a special performance.

The range of talents that were brought on board for the show is a testament to the work ethic of Feiner and his desire to bring quality Heavy Metal shows to Cincinnati fans. It shows what can be accomplished with a personal, hands-on approach and an earnest passion for the music and the local fanbase.