When choosing acts for the Athens Halloween Block Party, Brandon “DJ B-Funk” Thompson “always keeps it local.”
Finding performers with roots in Athens has been his focus the five years he has booked musicians, but he still likes to “keep the talent high.”
This year is no different. Many talents from the region will perform on the famous bricks at the Halloween party Saturday.
“I don’t want to just put anyone up there,” he said. “It is an honor to be on that stage.”
Jonathan Holmberg, the Athens clean and safe Halloween committee chairman, keeps the same sentiment when choosing bands for the other stage. He and his nephew Michael Holmberg receive albums from bands and approach other performers, but they always like to keep the acts local.
“I like to keep it local because it’s our party,” Jonathan said.
He is “keeping his fingers crossed” that warmer weather will find its way to Athens. Regardless of the forecast, he said he is “looking forward to the energy of the crowd.”
Thompson encourages all of the acts he books to dress up because it’s the biggest party of the year. With newly trimmed features, people around Athens told Thompson he looks like Bob Ross, so he will be dressed as the painter Saturday.
There are two stages: the Slip n Fly Fest Stage hosted by DJ B-Funk and the North Stage with emcee Michael Holmberg.
Slip n Fly Fest Stage (At the intersection of Union and Court)
Growing up in Athens, Thompson always wanted to perform for Halloween, so he considers it an honor to perform on the stage. Thompson has been working on his set list the week leading up to his 11:15 p.m. performance.
“At the end of the day, I just want to rock that party,” Thompson said.
Get weird has opened for bands like Skrillex and performed at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in 2015.
Bobby “Bobby Booshay” Fleck is excited to perform at the block party because he made it a goal his freshman year to DJ the biggest party of the year. Fleck, a junior studying music production, will play his set at 10 p.m., a time slot he is excited to play.
“It almost feels like a headlining spot,” he said. “(It’s) humbling to see.”
The “not your typical jam band” will blend funk with electronic mixings, bass player Jeremy Martin said. The group from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is excited to play its first block party and grow its audience during the 9:20 p.m. timeslot.
“It should be a pretty hot time to play on Court Street,” Martin, who will dress in scrubs with fake blood splattered on them, said. “It’s going to be a really good time.”
For the past four years, playing at the Halloween Block Party has always been “the best day of the year” for Ape Mode.
“It’s the best weekend of the year, how the whole city comes together (with) the university, it’s fantastic,” OU alumnus Kevin Fagan said.
Fagan is looking forward to return to Athens, reunite with Evan Amerio and “just do it all over again” after a long break from DJing since the two graduated from OU. Although Ape Mode will not have a particular theme for its music, it’s planning to keep the music dark and heavy for the occasion.
“We don’t get the opportunity to play music on a sound system that big all the time,” Fagan said. “So it’ll be fun to just let it rip and just play the loudest and heaviest (songs) we can.”
DJ Rick Web
Although this will be Rick “DJ Rick Web” Weber’s first time participating as a DJ in the block party, he’s not nervous about it.
“I’ve been backstage all year, I just chose not to play (until now),” Weber said.
Weber has not decided any particular music sets or a Halloween costume but said he’ll come up with something in time for the Block Party.
Despite the threat of rain this weekend, Evan Davis is looking forward to having more lights, a louder speaker system and a larger stage this weekend at the Halloween Block Party.
Davis, a senior studying entrepreneurship, will dress up as Raoul Duke from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and is excited to play a set again for Athens, this time by himself as a solo act.
“I’ll mostly be playing my own remixes, some of the more classic songs, new rap songs with an EDM twists to (them),” Davis said. “I’ll be sliding in some oldies, but goodies that people can sing along to.”
Chase “Based Chase” Harman had played together with Evan Davis last year as “Before Common Era,” but for their senior year, the two decided to do their own individual acts due to their different DJ styles.
Harman will be dressed in a Charmander onesie from Pokemon with friends dressed as other characters from the TV show such as Pikachu, Ash Ketchum and Team Rocket, while including as many songs as possible in his set.
“I’m gonna be playing a lot of dubstep. … It’s gonna be really heavy,” Harman said. “I want people to headbang, you know?”
Born and raised in Athens, Eli Catania is more than ready to command the stage as “Vaance.”
The block party will be Catania’s first time playing solo without his brothers, and he’s excited to include several original tracks in his Halloween-themed set. Catania hints at a possible guest appearance by a rapper he had collaborated with recently, but said he’ll “leave that a surprise.”
“I’m really excited about the opportunity, and I can’t wait to see everybody out there,” Catania said.
Catania will be in his annual costume as the Blue Ranger with his friends as the Power Rangers, and he invites others dressed as Power Rangers to join them.
“We’ll definitely take pictures with anybody,” he said. “Maybe I’ll show my face, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.”
DJ Marcellus Doe
Opening the Athens Halloween Block Party will bring some added pressure to “get the crowd ready, Kaylen “DJ Marcellus Doe” Spears, a sophomore studying computer science, said. But he is excited to play the biggest event he has ever done.
“I’m super excited to get up there and do an awesome set and let Ohio University students know who I am,” Spears, who might wear a Walking Dead onesie, said.
North Stage (Near Courtside)
Partygoers will find “every genre under the sun” at Qiet’s performance, lead guitarist Christopher Vincent said. The band, which has six to nine people depending on the night, mixes together several genres of music and has been playing the Athens music scene for a few years. Recently, the group performed at Boogie on the Bricks.
“It’s going to be thousands of people and complete madness. We’re just going to go — as sportsball player people say — we’re just going to go and give 110 percent. That’s all you can do, put on a good show,” Vincent said.
Conscious Pilot will don pilot uniforms for the second year in a row at the block party. The band will play a set of mostly original songs and bring “high energy,” bassist and singer Jake Gust said. The band hopes to be part of “a night to remember” to its second home, Athens.
Halloween will serve as the “grand finale” to its mini tour.
“There is a lot of music that maybe a lot of Athens friends haven’t heard,” Gust said.
Members of the D-Rays aren’t new to the Athens spotlight. The group formed in Athens in 2011 and has played at plenty of big events since then such as the Nelsonville Music Festival and the Pawpaw Festival. The band, which consists of three members, draws on influences of “garage/surf/punk,” according to its website.
Rock ’n‘ roll trio Blue Moth is known to “float around some ’60s genres” but includes a multitude of different sounds, bassist and singer Eben Tobar said.
The formed in summer 2016 and played the 2017 Nelsonville Music Festival. For Halloween, partygoers can likely expect a set that “ranges from blues, surf, jazz, punk, and garage that forms a high-energy, soulful projection of Rock n Roll,” according to .