To celebrate Earth Day, Big Leg Emma will be giving a show Friday night at the Road-House Bar & Grill to help fans look forward to the coming summer festival season.
The band will be giving away two weekend passes to the 20th annual Great Blue Heron Festival, scheduled for July 1-3, during their free show at the venue. The passes were donated by festival organizers David Tidquist, Steve Rockcastle and Julie Rockcastle.
Mrs. Rockcastle, one of the Great Blue Heron Festival's founders, said that Big Leg Emma has always been a good friend of the festival and that she is proud to have them representing it with an unofficial kickoff show.
Big Leg Emma is seen during a recent concert at Club Infinity in Williamsville. The band will play a pre-bash for the Great Blue Heron Music Festival at the Road-House Bar & Grill, 1023 E. Second St. in Jamestown, on Friday night.
''It's a mutually beneficial, dual-admiration kind of relationship - they love us and we love them,'' she said. ''It's really nice of them and their management to throw a party here in the spring, include us in it, and sort of get the fans excited about them and the festival.''
John Streed, manager of Big Leg Emma, said that the Great Blue Heron Festival is one of the band's favorite festivals in the country.
''It's hometown, it's one of the largest crowds they play in front of,'' Streed said. ''We're going up to Michigan to play a festival, we've played some festivals in Ohio, some in Pennsylvania, but by far the Blue Heron is the whole band's favorite.''
After originally forming in 2001 and becoming one of the region's best-loved folk bands, Big Leg Emma split up in 2008 to focus upon new musical projects, dedicate more time to their families and explore different career interests. Less than two years later, in April and May 2010, Big Leg Emma got back together for what were to be just three reunion shows - a chance to regain the feeling of playing together and for fans to enjoy their live music once again.
What was to be a brief reunion has become a full-time band once again, as Big Leg Emma has been entertaining audiences throughout the region - from Erie and Buffalo to Pittsburgh and beyond - in recent months. In addition, some of its component members have been playing together in smaller shows throughout the local area in the past weeks, spreading the word of Big Leg Emma once again.
Now, the full band is gathering in Jamestown once again for a club show, and a large crowd is expected to come out to enjoy all their favorites. Though the show is free and does not require a ticket, the Road-House will be handing out wristbands beginning at 6 p.m. Friday to limit attendance. Once all of the wristbands have been distributed, the show will be considered ''sold-out'' and no one will be allowed entry.
Streed said the band is excited to be playing again at the Road-House, a venue at which it has had successful shows in the past. He said that the band has hosted, in some capacity, a pre-Blue Heron bash for several years.
''This will probably be the biggest,'' Streed said, adding that among the festivities for the evening will be a celebration of Great Blue Heron Festival co-founder Steve Rockcastle's birthday. ''The show is an event in itself, but we just wanted to give it a little something extra. It's going to be great.''
All who come to the show must be 21 or over with legal proof of identification. The show will begin at 10 p.m. with opening act Bandhanna, followed by Big Leg Emma.
Big Leg Emma is comprised of Steve Johnson on guitar and vocals; Amanda Barton on violin and vocals; Charity Nuse on mandolin, percussion and vocals; Kev Rowe on electric guitar and vocals; Steve French on bass guitar; and Rad Akers on drums. The band is scheduled to be one of the headliners of the Great Blue Heron Festival this year, with other artists on the bill including Donna The Buffalo, The Horse Flies, The Town Pants, Slo-Mo, Sim Redmond Band and the David Bromberg Quartet.
For more information about the show at the Road-House on Friday night, contact the venue at 708-6119 or visit Big Leg Emma online by going to www.biglegemma.com.