Heights Music Hop brings live music to Lee Road

The Commonwealth plays at the 2014 Heights Music Hop after-party at the BottleHouse. Photo by Rob Mueller.

Lee Road will again be hopping with music on Saturday, Sept. 19, when the third annual Heights Music Hop takes place. Among the artists performing this year are such well-known Cleveland-area acts as the Admirables, Oldboy, the Megan Zurkey Band, Diana Chittester, Maura Rogers and Morgan Mecaskey.

“The Music Hop is a collaboration of local music and independent businesses creating a great night of entertainment on Lee Road,” said Kelley Robinson, the director of the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District (SID), which is a presenting sponsor of the Hop. “The event brings crowds of music fans to the district and an increase in customers to the merchants. It continues to be a unique opportunity to celebrate our community, while promoting Cleveland Heights to visitors.”

In its first year, 2013, the Hop drew about 1,000 people to the Cedar Lee neighborhood. Last year’s Hop attracted more than 2,000 fans. Organizers are hoping that even more people will turn out this year, especially since it is taking place a month earlier than in previous years.

“We’ve had two really successful years, and I think the fact that we have moved it forward this year, we will be able to take advantage of the better weather,” said Adam Fleischer, owner of The Wine Spot on Lee Road.

Musicians will be performing in restaurants and retail stores along Lee Road, from Zagara’s Marketplace on the north end of the street to the Lee Road Library on the south end.

This year, 18 venues are participating in the event, more than in previous years. In addition to Zagara’s and the library, the venues are Anatolia Cafe, the BottleHouse Brewery, Brennan’s Colony, Dewey’s Pizza, Heights Arts, Lopez Southwest Kitchen, Marotta’s, Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates, the New Heights Grill, Parnell’s Pub, Phoenix Coffee, the Rib Cage, The Social Room, the Stone Oven, the Tavern Company and The Wine Spot.

This is the first year that the Rib Cage has taken part in the Hop, and Robert Hill, the restaurant’s owner, is excited. “We always wanted to be involved,” he said, “but it just never worked out.” During the event, the Rib Cage will be roasting two pigs in the parking lot next to the restaurant. “That way people can see how we prepare the food,” Hill said. The restaurant will be distributing some free food at the event.

The storefront next to the Rib Cage—which is currently vacant but will soon become an expansion of the restaurant—will serve as the Hop’s headquarters on Sept. 19. The headquarters will be the central location for volunteers and staff. It is also a place where those attending the Hop can stop by for information during the event, and purchase Music Hop merchandise.

The Hop will kick off with daytime shows at the library and Zagara’s leading into the evening events, with most of the music performances taking place 5–11 p.m.

An after-party, featuring music by the Admirables, will take place at the BottleHouse Brewery, and kicks off at 11 p.m. The Music Hop is a free event, but admission to the after-party will be $5 (no advance tickets needed; just pay at the door).

Performers this year include By Light We Loom, the Trepanning Trio, Shawn and Shelby, Archie Green, Patrick Stefan, Joshua Jesty, the Banging Fragiles, Jason Patrick Meyers, Noon, Elegie, Rebekah Jean and the Root Bottle. Additional performers will be announced via the Music Hop website, www.heightsmusichop.com, and through the Hop’s social media accounts.

The Heights Music Hop is organized by FutureHeights, the nonprofit community group that also publishes the Heights Observer. In addition to the Cedar Lee SID, this year’s other sponsors are Simply Charming, The Wine Spot, Dewey’s Pizza, the New Heights Grill, Motorcars, Keller National and realtor Susan Delaney of Howard Hanna.

This year, the Hop has teamed up with Uber, the car service. Uber has provided a special code for the evening that new users can use for a free ride worth up to $20 for the Hop. When signing up with Uber, new riders can use the code HTSMUSICHOP (visit get.uber.com/go/htsmusichop.) A link to the code is also provided on the Hop website and through social media.

The City of Cleveland Heights will offer free parking at metered (not permit-parking) spots on the street, and in city-owned lots, and in the immediate vicinity of the Cedar Lee district. Parking will also be available at the Lee Road Library, after it closes at 5:30 p.m., and at Zagara's Marketplace, after its 9 p.m. closing time.

The Hop is still seeking volunteers to help with the event. Volunteers are being asked to work two- or three-hour shifts, helping staff the music venues, canvassing Lee Road with maps and answering questions, and assisting with volunteer and musician check-ins. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up using this link, or send an e-mail to heightsmusichop@futureheights.org. Volunteers will receive a ticket to the after-party and a T-shirt, as well as snacks and water.

James Henke

James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 11:40 PM, 08.31.2015