Ribs-N-Rock Festival in Boardman Adds a Fourth Day

BOARDMAN, Ohio – They say the best way to conjure up a vivid memory is through the sense of smell.

The internet has yet to figure out a way to give off an aroma, but imagine the sweet and smokey smell of pork ribs slathered in barbecue sauce wafting through the air on a summer night.

If you just got a mental image of last year’s Ribs-N-Rock Festival at DeBartolo Commons at Southern Park Mall, you’re not alone.

The event drew 20,000 people over its three days last summer.

It should top that number this year because the festival is expanding to four days. It will take place Thursday through Sunday, June 20-23.

“It felt like the right time to do that,” said Corey Ward, who owns and operates the festival.

Live music is half of Ribs-N-Rock, and the first Sunday night headliner will be Chris Higbee – who will bring a country flavor. The Pittsburgh-based fiddle player is already well-known in the Mahoning Valley.

The headliners for the first three nights will be The Clarks on Thursday; Josey Scott, the original singer of Saliva, on Friday; and Vince Neil, singer for Motley Crue, on Saturday.

Doors will open at noon each day. Admission is free until 3 p.m., and $7 afterward, which includes the concerts.

“It’s affordable,” Ward notes.

The Clarks have become a tradition on the festival’s first night. The Pittsburgh-based guitar rockers have long been a favorite in the Mahoning Valley.

The Clarks will hit the stage at 8 p.m. Opening acts will be AC & The Heat and No Funk No Justice.

Anyone who listened to rock radio in 2010 will remember Saliva. The hard rock band led by Scott had a string of hits, including “Click Click Boom,” “Always,” “Ladies and Gentlemen,” “Survival of the Sickest” and “Your Disease.”

Scott is no longer part of Saliva – he fronts his own act now – but his set list will include all of his prior band’s hits.

Rock radio was enjoying a peak moment back then, and Valley rock fans will recall that Ward brought many big-name concerts to Rodeo Music Hall in Austintown.

“I had Saliva, Shinedown and Halestorm there in 2009,” Ward recalled. That concert was just over 15 years ago – March 23 to be precise.

Josey Scott will take the stage at 9 p.m. Opening acts will be The Undone and Bad Juju, with Becky Kimble playing an acoustic set from noon to 4 p.m.

Ward also booked Vince Neil in 2014 to play at the Hot Rod Supernationals at Quaker City Raceway in Salem. Ward was the owner of that event at the time.

Neil’s set list will include nonstop Crue hits, such as “Kickstart My Heart,” “Don’t Go Away Mad,” “Dr. Feelgood” and “Girls, Girls, Girls.”

Neil will go on at 8 p.m. Opening acts will be Turbo Lovers, Epic and The Huckin’ Fillbillies, with Kimble playing an acoustic set in the afternoon.

On Sunday, Higbee’s headlining set will start at 6 p.m. He will be preceded by local country artists Broken Reins and Candace Campana, with Kimble playing an acoustic set in the afternoon.

As for rib cookers, this year’s Ribs-N-Rock will feature five favorites. They are:

  • Cowboys Barbeque and Rib Co. of Fort Worth Texas.
  • Carolina Rib King of Spartanburg, S.C.
  • Porky Chicks BBQ of Fayetteville, Ark.
  • Texas Outlaw BBQ of Sugarland, Texas.
  • Off the Bone BBQ of Mobile, Ala. 

Pictured at top: Josey Scott, left, and his band will perform at the rib fest this weekend.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.