The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to support the Cleveland music scene in featuring performances by local bands every summer, sharing the stage with national artists such as Man Man, Akron/Family and Chairlift during the Museum’s Summer Sessions concert series. The city’s wide array of artists perform just about every genre of music, and the bi-annual Cleveland Lottery League at the Beachland Ballroom is just one more way the power of music proves to bring people together.
Two years ago something completely original, completely Cleveland, and very special happened when 144 area musicians got together in a way never imagined before as part of the first ever Cleveland Lottery League. Essentially a community art project like no other, 33 all-new bands were formed, their efforts culminating with a concert for something the League was calling, and very aptly so, THE BIG SHOW 2008.
I was there the night of THE BIG SHOW 2008, and no exaggerated-filled explanation written here can truly capture the civic pride and sheer magic of what was presented that night.
Now, two years later, we are one day away from what is planned be a bi-annual event for Cleveland and by Cleveland, THE BIG SHOW 2010.
The original idea of Lottery League started to take shape in the Winter of 2007 when a small group of Cleveland musicians got together (who would name themselves the “Council of Chiefs”) and created what they first referred to as a ‘What If’ scenario: ‘What if we were to take a bunch of local musicians and put them in bands with people who have never played together?’
Using equal parts imagination, resourcefulness, networking, and even some mathematical algorithms, the concept was honed and rules were put in place; and so too were 144 Cleveland musicians from all walks of aesthetic tastes, all ready to take part. Artists who typically play rock could end up with country, hip-hop could end up as punk, avant-garde could end up as metal. Anything was possible, and everything was encouraged.
The rules of the Lottery League are quite simple: all participants must be or have been in bands that have recorded or toured. From that group, a list is created to insure that no two former or current collaborators, roommates, or lovers could be placed in the same band. Then, after Draft Night—in which the new bands are picked and created right out of a bingo hopper—the participants have roughly two months to rehearse and record until their deadline: an April rock and roll circus known as THE BIG SHOW.
This year’s BIG SHOW is this Saturday, April 10 at 5 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom. All 33 bands have each prepared a 10 minute set of all-original material, and with the exception of a few brief intermissions for a collective catching of one's breath, the action will move non-stop from all three stages until the last performance at 1 a.m. Amidst this joyous chaos, raffles will be held while League members will sell their wares at a community merch table.
This is an event not to miss for any and all of you who love and support music and enjoy discovering new bands! And who knows? Maybe one of these newly formed bands will be making an appearance here on the Rock Hall stage this summer!
For more information on the Cleveland Lottery League and how to purchase tickets to THE BIG SHOW, please click here.