Barnstormer 5 comes to Akron



Typical music venues tend to be taverns or clubs in busy towns with stages attached to them. A typical venue is not, on the other hand, likely to be a barn miles from the nearest nightclub, highway or telephone pole.

Akron-area music lovers will get their chance to experience just such an atypical venue when the Barnstormer 5 tour comes to northeastern Ohio for the first time on Wednesday, August 31. Funded and managed by indie music site, the Barnstormer tour brings live music to some of the unlikeliest of places.

Since summer 2009, Barnstormer has held concerts in small, out-of-the-way places in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, but until now the tour has never been to Ohio, let alone Akron. Sean Moeller, the man behind the wheel at and chief organizer for Barnstormer, said a show in Akron was a good fit, as the area boasts a respectable Daytrotter following and a thriving music scene.

“It seems like we have a pretty nice following of people in Akron,” Moeller said. “We have some pretty hardy supporters in Cleveland and Kent; it just sort of made sense.”

Five artists are booked to play at the Akron leg of Barnstormer 5: Rabbits, Doug Paisley, Wildlife, Princeton and Hacienda. Moeller said he chooses bands for Barnstormer shows mostly based on how well he feels they will play into the atmosphere of the unusual venue.

“It really comes down to what I think will be great in that setting,” Moeller said. “It’s not just a club setting.”

The crowd is another important factor, said Moeller. Someone who makes the trek into the wilderness to see a concert is someone who is bound to be committed to the music. Barnstormer crowds tend to be attentative, and the artists chosen for these barn shows must be capable of keying into that attentiveness.

Moeller said many don’t realize barns make for more direct and music-oriented buildings than some clubs and taverns. The barn’s inherent acoustic properties make for an interesting change of pace, and that idea is a major component of the Barnstormer philosophy.

“It’s amazing how natural a barn can actually be for a setting like this,” Moeller said. “The way they’re shaped and the tall ceiling, it’s actually a pretty natural theater for a performance like this.”

The trial of simply getting to the venue to see the show is another part of the Barnstormer experience. Winding back roads and spotty directions mean some effort is required to on the audience’s part.

“Google Maps doesn’t recognize (the barns) very well; you sort of have to hunt them down,” Moeller said. “It is an experience.”

In preparation for Barnstormer 5, Daytrotter has been distributing newsletters and online announcements to get the word out, but most of the advertising and promotion for the tour is by word of mouth. Frequent visitors to often spread the word about upcoming shows, including Barnstormer 5, said Moeller.

Moeller said initial ticket sales for Barnstormer 5’s Akron show have not been as high as expected, but he still expects a healthy amount of walk-up purchases on the day of the show.

Although Barnstormer is currently a largely Midwestern tour, Moeller said his long-term goals include shows in Southern/Southeastern states such as North Carolina and Tennessee.

Barnstormer 5’s Akron show is slated for August 31. Doors open at 5p.m., the music starts at 6. This show looks to be a rare opportunity for music fans in the Akron area, as Barnstormer isn’t expected to hit Northeastern Ohio for at least another year.

Contact Conner Howard at [email protected]