Ready to Ramble: ‘Musical family reunion’ returns Saturday in Batavia

Jul 5, 2018

There will be plenty of dancing Saturday, but Batavia Ramble organizer Paul Draper III is already doing “the Ramble Scramble” of last-minute preparations for the day-long music and arts festival.

The scramble comes from “nailing down all the little bits and pieces” to make sure months of preparations lead to a great show. He grabbed bi-folds for bands and vendor spaces Tuesday, was checking on insurance and completing orders for T-shirts.

“There’s a lot of little things to take care of — I take copious notes,” Draper said, noting that a day of good music on stages in Jackson Square and across from Center Street Smokehouse is a certainty.

About three dozen bands will take part in the event, with a poster promoting the festival listing Ghost Riders, Me & Red, Koko & the Moon Crickets, Justin Williams Band, Shotgun Pauly, Trolls 2.0, Genesee Ted, driVen, ZERO, Old Hippies, SIERRA, Noahs Regin, The Bluesway Band, Warren Skye & Friends, Eagle Creek, Justin Crossett Band, Audibull, J. Hopkins, Grizzwoode, PD3, Dave Holnbeck, Steve Kruppner, Kruppner Brothers, Jenny & Michelle, Beethovan’s Dream Group Again, S.M. & the Live BaitBand, Bobby S. & The Pedestrians, Lonesome Road, Rock Soulgers, Gretchen & The Girls, Blues Daddios, Mercy Express, Conspiracy Theory, and We Are Groot.

While that line-up contains many fresh faces, Draper said the core of the festival remains — bands coming together every year as the crowd grows around them.

“For me, the Ramble’s history is the biggest point — it’s more of a musical family reunion than anything else,” Draper said. “It’s blossomed into this day-long event that all of Batavia is accustomed to, but the fact that over the course of now 13 years it has become this thing, a community gathering ... it’s been great to have seen the progression.”

Draper appreciates that the bands all donate their time and talents to the event, which along with sponsorships and vendors allow the non-profit festival to not charge for entry.

“I think they truly do it because this is what they love to do — there’s so many talented local musicians,” said Draper, who is reluctant to say any one act stands out.

Instead, it’s a moment he anticipates.

“Every year, I think about when the Ramble starts winding down, and the whole day is calm, the stress is relieved,” he said. “It’s not (a band that’s) my favorite, it’s always been the end of the night.”

This year’s closer is Audibull, who have promised a hard-rocking performance that Draper is looking forward to hearing after running around to catch bits and pieces of the whirlwind of acts during the day.

Attendees are advised to bring a lawn chair or blanket in addition to their dancing shoes. A new layout of the stage at Jackson Square will change some viewing angles, but Draper said acoustically it’s a better set-up.

“The overall sound is much, much better,” he said. “We had some difficulties with where the stage was before, because the sound bounced off the brick walls. The new layout will sound better, and it will have better visibility from Center Street Smokehouse, and (Eli Fish’s) back patio.”

The other stage will be surrounded by vendors, including those serving food. The layout is being tweaked — “it’s like a brand new toy to play around with.”

The Ramble continues to bring together friends — those on stage and in the audience. No addition would make that different.

“The idea behind this thing is to get the community together ... the events that (allow people) to get out and mingle with old friends,” Draper said. “The main idea to facilitate friends coming together and listening to good music.”

The 13th Annual Batavia Ramble runs from 11 a.m. to past 9 p.m. Saturday in downtown Batavia.

By Jim Krencik, Batavia Daily News