10 years of Federal Frenzy

Riley Burke performed solo April 15 at Kilcawley Center promotion of Federal Frenzy. Photo by Molly Burke / The Jambar

By John Ostapowicz / The Jambar

The Youngstown community will gather for music, food and fun at the annual Federal Frenzy Music and Arts Festival from 2 to 11 p.m. on April 27 in downtown Youngstown. This year, the festival will celebrate its 10 year anniversary.

Hosted by Youngstown State University’s Penguin Productions, the event will be held on East Federal Street in collaboration with Penguin City Brewing Company and Youngstown Flea for the second consecutive year.

The festival will host over 40 vendors and 26 bands will perform across four stages — two indoor and two outdoor. The bands range from local to national acts featuring YSU alumni and current students. Some groups and artists from the Youngstown area include Madame Marlowe, Riley Burke Band, Dave Buker and JD Eicher.

Nashville-based indie rock band Bully will headline the YSU Penguin Productions main stage on East Federal Street. With over 5.6 million Spotify streams on its song “Lose You” featuring Soccer Mommy, the band’s performance will pay homage to the inaugural Federal Frenzy in 2015.

Eicher will headline the 90.7 The Summit FM stage. In 2022, he performed at Federal Frenzy on West Federal Street. With his return to the event, Eicher said he is excited to come back to Youngstown.

“I always appreciate the opportunity to play at Federal Frenzy. It will be nice to be back and playing in Youngstown. I get back a bit, but I’m not playing as much in town as I would like. So, this will be great,” Eicher said.

Besides live music, Federal Frenzy will also include a local vendor marketplace from 2 to 8 p.m. on East Federal Street in collaboration with Youngstown Flea. Attendees can buy food from various food trucks and a full-service bar at Penguin City and DOPE Cider House and Winery.

The Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor will display a portion of the William B. Pollock Exhibit in the space leading up to Penguiny City’s Pollock Ballroom.

Erin Driscoll, YSU’s executive director of Student Experience and Residence Life, was a member of the team that introduced the idea of Federal Frenzy to the city of Youngstown. Driscoll said the partnership led to the creation of the annual event.

“[Federal Frenzy] started as a conversation with the city of Youngstown about creating an event that gave an opportunity to the campus and the city for YSU students and community members to all come together,” Driscoll said. “[Penguin Productions] wanted to get students downtown to see all of the businesses, restaurants and venues that are down there.”

Ally Wright, a senior anthropology major and event lead for Penguin Productions, said she is grateful for Penguin City’s help hosting the event.

“Penguin City has been incredible. They are letting [Penguin Productions] use their entire facility. They have gone out of their way to get more permits and sponsored the event. [Penguin City] has done an incredible amount of work and support,” Wright said.

Federal Frenzy is free and open to the public, but parking will likely be impacted by other popular weekend music events downtown. The Vindys will perform with Youngstown Symphony Orchestra at the DeYor Performing Arts Center on April 26, and Judas Priest will perform at Covelli Center the same day as Federal Frenzy.

Students and event attendees are encouraged to park at the Wick Avenue M30 Parking Deck on campus, which is free with a YSU parking pass. The cost for those without a permit is $5.

Penguin Productions will also run a shuttle service from 1 p.m. to midnight in front of McDonough Museum of Art on Wick Avenue to the event site.

East Federal Street from Andrews Avenue to Wilson Avenue will close at 8 a.m. on April 26 and will re-open at 2 a.m. on April 28.

Food trucks, vendors and activities can be viewed on Penguin Production’s Instagram @ysupenpro.


Dave Buker celebrates milestone

Dave Buker, frontman and founding member of Dave Buker and the Historians, will perform solo from 4:50 to 5:20 p.m. on April 27 at Federal Frenzy Music and Arts Festival on The Jambar Student Media stage.

Buker grew up in Youngstown and graduated from Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 2010.

After graduation, Buker moved to Brooklyn, New York and then Columbus after he was asked to write a music score for an independent film.

In the same year, he formed Dave Buker and the Historians. Since then, the band has accumulated thousands of streams across Spotify and Apple Music.

Most recently, Buker celebrated the 10 year anniversary of the band’s debut full-length album, “What Can Bring You Back To Me?” The band released a re-recording of the album April 12. With the milestone, Buker said it was fun to revisit an album that was released a decade ago.

“As much as things change, they stay the same. It’s very different looking back but so many of the things that we do and what makes us who we are is represented there,” Buker said.

The re-release of the band’s album is now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.


JD Eicher returns to the Valley

Two years ago, singer-songwriter and novelist JD Eicher performed at Federal Frenzy Music and Arts Festival with his rhythm section of Dylan Kollat on drums and Jim Merhaut on bass.

Before Eicher hits the 90.7 Summit FM stage at 8:05 on April 27 at the 2024 Federal Frenzy, he will release a new single April 26 that will make its live debut at the event. The track is the first single off of Eichers next full-length album, which will be released sometime in 2025.

Eicher grew up in the Mahoning Valley and graduated from Canfield High School and Westminster College. Kollat is also a Youngstown native, as he graduated from Youngstown State University and has been helping the YSU Marching Pride’s drumline since 2011.

Although Eicher moved away from the area, he said that Youngstown will always be considered home.

“Once a Youngstown boy, always a Youngstown boy. It’s a bittersweet feeling to leave but there are always things I’m going to miss about Youngstown,” Eicher said.

Eicher will be back in Youngstown with Red Wanting Blue at 7 p.m. on May 3 at Westside Bowl.

Leave a Reply