New music venue


There’s been an intriguing sign spotted five miles east of Hillsboro on the north side of U.S. Route 50. It’s a large green arrow pointing to the Rocky Fork Lake area, and it says only “MUSIC”.

Turns out that sign reflects a passion project of Jeff Parks, who resides just a quarter mile from the sign, and his sister Laura. Together they own a seven-acre rectangular property on North Beach Road and they have been working diligently with family and friends and local contractors to offer Highland County and beyond something different than you might expect.

It’s the all new RTE 50 MUSIC PAVILION (RTE50MUSIC.COM) and it is open only on Saturday nights. It caters to just one particular kind of music — blues and blues rock.

Highland County’s new music pavilion is outside entertainment only (bring your own chairs) and consequently “weather permitting” each event. It offers live music featuring great acts as they tour through the area. But the new venue is not quite the same, musically speaking.

Turns out that Jeff and Laura have a brother named John. He’s a Marine veteran, retired engineer, and talented guitarist who knows his way around blues progressions and has a little style of his own to offer the blues genre. Jeff and John teamed up a couple of years ago. Jeff spent 30 years as a broadcaster, knows his way around a microphone, and agreed to start singing and Parks Bruthers was born. John is the musical director of the band. Jeff handles management and the two found perfect partners in bassist Michael Kompar from Fairborn and drummer Hayride from east Dayton.

Parks Bruthers have expanded the lineup and will soon be joined by local vocalist Nikki Elliott. The band is a particular favorite at Harley-Davidson dealerships as their particular brand of “hard driving” blues rock and straight up blues suits that crowd among others. In fact, Parks Bruthers will play at Xenia Harley-Davidson earlier in the day before headlining opening night at ROUTE 50 MUSIC PAVILION from 9-11 p.m.

The ambitious initial season includes 26 acts over 13 weeks and that’s every Saturday night in August, September and October. Each Saturday night, from 7-11 p.m., two acts present their take on the blues and blues rock. Local favorite Gabe Gilliland opens five shows; Parks Bruthers perform 11 times. It’s all on the website. Debut night this Saturday opens with Dayton-based Jewel and the Roughcuts with Harpman Hayden. Veteran players teamed up behind 17-year-old blues harmonica demon. Opening acts cover 7-8:30 p.m. Closing acts perform 9-11 p.m.

John Parks said that he is likely to perform at a debut only once any time soon. He wants to invite all area veterans and active military in the area to join him in this special setting and one-of-a-kind debut. So, all veterans and active military get in free.

Admission wristbands are $8 and parking is $4. Alcohol and pets are not permitted.

“Check out the website,” Jeff Parks said. “Grab a chair, a blanket, a cooler and head out RTE 50 Saturday night.”

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