Maniacs at Sculpture Park
10,000 Maniacs, Tyler Smilo, Jim Donovan & More at GSP
By Chad Neal
10,000 Maniacs originally from Jamestown, NY is making their way to Griffis Sculpture Park (GSP) in East Otto, just outside of Ellicottville for a benefit concert. Griffis Sculpture Park is the largest outdoor sculpture park in the US. The band has been around for over 30 years and 26 years ago in 1991 they played a benefit concert at GSP and over 6,000 people attended the alternative rock concert. “It was a legendary day that is etched in Western New York music history.” This year on Sunday July 16th, starting at 2pm along with opening acts 10,000 Maniacs will be performing their album “In My Tribe” in full again. Rolling Stone magazine named the album one of the “Top 100 Albums of the 1980s.”
Starting the day’s events will be one of the founding members of Rusted Root from Pittsburgh, PA, Jim Donovan &Sun King Warriors and also performing before the 10,000 Maniacs is acoustic performer and touring musician Tyler Smilo from Erie, PA. Jim Donovan and Sun King Warriors are described as “a mix of Americana rock, with a strong dose of tribal style drumming. Think Led Zeppelin III & IV mixed with Rusted root’s “When I woke” era rhythmic intensity, and the authentic vocal emotion of Mumford & Sons. While Tyler Smilo is originally from Texas and Ohio he found his way to Erie, PA. Smilo took Erie’s “music scene by storm”. Tyler Smilo is an award winning artist and his Americana style folk songs are “mostly autobiographical”.
Western New York native 10,000 Maniacs recently celebrated their 35th anniversary as a band. They continue to progress and tour making new material. It was in 1980s when the band hit the big time with the album “In My Tribe”, which they are performing in full at GSP. They made the albums “Blind Man’s Zoo” and “Our Time in Eden” as well solidifying them “as one of the country’s biggest acts with sold out shows, major media appearances, and millions of albums sold. The departure of Natalie Merchant in 1993, presented the band new beginnings with singer and viola player Mary Ramsey in 1994.”
If you’ve never been to GSP this would be a grand time to check it out. The 450-acre park is loaded with 250 sculptures in the woods, in fields and in ponds as well. There are hiking trails through the woods and a large field with steel sculptures that can be climbed on and touched. Grand displays of art that have been there since the 1960s when Larry Griffis Jr. along with other international artists soldered and welded the behemoth works that are scattered all over the park.
The concert will feature music, activities, food and beer services. Guests must be able to endure a 10 minute walk uphill to the festival site. There will be a shuttle service that will help attendees get to the concert area. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs. Ticket prices are $20 advance and $25 day of show. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com and more info can be found at www.griffispark.org. The gates open at noon and the music starts at 2:00 p.m.