Wishing to help others: Cerafest series sees strong start with 2 dates left

Cody Ikerd & The Sidewinders will perform Saturday at the Cerafest Concert Series. Submitted photo

Fittingly enough, one new original tune local music fans can expect to hear from the popular, nationally touring group Night Owl Country Band at its Cerafest Concert Series show is “Indiana Summer” — right on the outdoor amphitheater stage at Ceraland Park, 3989 S. County Road 525E southeast of Columbus.

The song, written by Bloomington resident Josh Burris, features a funky, bluesy guitar opening and grand reminiscing about everything from cold beer to hot times amid — you guessed it — Hoosier summers.

“It’s got more of a moderate country feel to it for us,” said guitarist and vocalist Matt Lee, just before the local group departed for the International Singers-Songwriters Association Annual Awards near Atlanta.

The foursome is slated to perform a 45-minute set at 6 p.m. Aug. 17, opening for Clayton Anderson as part of the Cerafest Concert Series benefiting the make A Wish Foundation, which makes dreams come true for seriously ill young people. More than 400 people attended the series’ opening show July 20 with Caribbean Chillers, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, according to Corey Behymer, Cerland’s assistant to the executive director.

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The next concert is 6 p.m. Saturday with the Actual Size Band plus Cody Ikerd & The Sidewinders.

Behymer mentioned that the series grew out of last year’s ambitious Cerafest event that was slated on a single weekend a year ago at the venue. That also benefited Make A Wish. Organizers decided they could draw stronger support and a more varied audience by spreading out concerts over several weekends, Behymer said.

“With Night Owl especially having such a great local following, and because of the fact that Bedford native Clayton Anderson has a pretty good following regionally — and he’s also done some performances nationally — I think that will draw a big crowd,” Behymer said.

When Night Owl last played Ceraland on July 4, it attracted about 200 to 300 people, Lee estimated.

Ideally, Behymer mentioned that, via ticket sales and through donation canisters at the venue, Ceraland would like to give about $8,000 to Make A Wish. With the cause, Night Owl seems a logical pick for one of the shows. In the past, some of its concerts have supported other charitable efforts such as the Wounded Warriors Project.

Lee mentioned that shortly after the concert date, Night Owl members would shoot their portion of a music video supporting another new, original song “Made In America,” with the help of the production crew of national country singer John Schneider, whom the band opened for in March at The Commons. The patriotic anthem covers everything from supporting American military troops to saluting homeland manufacturers such as John Deere.

“We think fans already are geared up for that one,” Lee said.

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What: Two of the three concerts left.

Who: Actual Size Band plus Cody Ikerd & The Sidewinders, 6 p.m. Saturday; and Night Owl Country band opening for Clayton Anderson at 6 p.m. Aug. 17. 

Where: Amphitheater at Ceraland Park, 3989 S. County Road 525E, southeast of Columbus.

Admission: $5 donation per person, ages 10 and older; $2 for ages 4 to 9; younger concertgoers admitted free. Also free for CERA Annual Passholders and those camping at the park that day.

Benefits: Make A Wish Foundation.