University Circle Inc., Case Western Reserve University and Roots of American Music to produce Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights & RootsFest

Uptown series to create Cleveland’s live music neighborhood. Follow #UptownRoots for updates.

RELEASE DATE: 8.15.2016














For more information on Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights, please visit:















For more information on Cleveland Foundation Uptown RootsFest, please visit:

CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Foundation today announced a $50,000 grant to support Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights, a collaboration between University Circle, Inc., Case Western Reserve University and Roots of American Music (ROAM) to host a free live music series that will activate the Uptown District in University Circle on Saturday nights from 7 p.m. – midnight throughout late summer and fall 2016. Beginning Saturday, Aug. 27, and culminating with the Cleveland Foundation Uptown RootsFest on October 14 – 15, the series will celebrate the roots of American music – blues, jazz, gospel, hip hop, traditional country, folk, Americana, bluegrass and zydeco, among others – as performed by local musicians across multiple Uptown District venues within walking distance of one another. Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights and RootsFest are free and open to the public, and include support from Uptown property owners and No Depression – the premiere magazine and online journal focused on roots music in the U.S.  

“As we work with our partners to infuse arts into every corner of our community, we can’t think of a better place to create a new epicenter of live music than the Uptown District,” said Ronn Richard, President and CEO of the Cleveland Foundation. “We hope the Cleveland Foundation Uptown Saturday Nights free concert series will expose Greater University Circle residents and visitors to musical artists they otherwise may not be able to access, connecting all through music and food in this world-class, mixed-use urban neighborhood.”

Uptown venues and programming confirmed for Cleveland Foundation Uptown RootsFest – Oct. 14 & 15


Friday, Oct. 14: 

  • Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque* – films:
    • The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins, 7:30 p.m.
    • A Well Spent Life, 8 p.m. 
  • Festival Stage on Toby’s Plaza – performer: New Soft Shoe, 6 p.m. 
  • Happy Dog at Euclid Tavern – performers:
    • Long Road, 8 p.m.
    • High Plains Jamboree, 9:30 p.m. 

*Tickets for films purchased through theatre at the ticket office or online 

Saturday, Oct. 15: 

  • Children’s Tent in Uptown Alley – Children’s activities with our partners at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. Live children’s music performances: 
    • Heights Music Shop, 12:30 p.m.
    • Jack Mizenko, 2 p.m.
    • SpYder Stomper and Sugar Pie, 3:30 p.m. 
  • Festival Stage on Toby’s Plaza – performers: 
    • Sam Hooper Group, 1 p.m. 
    • Charlie & Celia, 2:30 p.m. 
    • Rebekah Jean + Duchess, 4 p.m. 
    • DJ, 5 p.m. 
    • Shakka Hasberry + JR Blessington, 5:30 p.m. 
  • Happy Dog at the Euclid Tavern – performers: 
    • Wallace Coleman, 8 p.m.
    • Zoe & Cloyd, 9:30 p.m. 

“Roots music embodies the rich tradition of music created by multiple cultures within America,” said Kevin T. Richards, artistic director, Roots of American Music. “This music has both broad appeal and the flexibility to connect to a diverse group of audiences bringing the neighbors of Greater University Circle together with outside visitors through music and food.”

The series will culminate in Cleveland Foundation Uptown RootsFest on Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15, a two-day roots music festival featuring performances on Toby’s Plaza in front of Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), a children’s activities tent and family concerts. RootsFest will also include documentary screenings at Cleveland Institute of Art’s Cinematheque: “A Well Spent Life,” a tribute to blues singer and guitarist Mance Lipscomb and “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins,” which chronicles the life of the legendary Texas guitarist and performer.

“Clevelanders love supporting Cleveland and this series is an opportunity to provide an outlet for all to support Uptown,” said Chris Ronayne, president, University Circle Inc. “The proximity of eight venues, coupled with free admission to see live roots music, will attract audiences that have yet to discover Uptown’s weekend offerings, and will help establish a more permanent weekend audience for the businesses and institutions in the area going forward.”    

The Cleveland Foundation supported the creation of the Uptown District as part of the Greater University Circle Initiative, a foundation-led collaborative effort between multiple anchor institutions in University Cirlce to rebuild neighborhoods and improve economic opportunities for area residents. Since 2005, the Cleveland Foundation has committed more than $11 million in and around Uptown as part of its placemaking effort in Greater University Circle.

“The Cleveland Foundation has played a pivotal role in the development of Uptown and several other key initiatives across University Circle,” Case Western Reserve University President Barbara R. Snyder said. “The foundation’s support for this series represents another example of its leaders’ commitment to help continue the momentum of this vibrant district, as well as their recognition of the great value and impact of the arts.”


Cleveland Foundation: Established in 1914, the Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with assets of $2.1 billion and 2015 grants of $95 million. Through the generosity of donors, the foundation improves the lives of residents of Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga Counties by building community endowment, addressing needs through grantmaking, and providing leadership on vital issues. The foundation tackles the community’s priority areas – education and youth development, neighborhoods, health and human services, arts and culture, economic development and purposeful aging – and responds to the community’s needs.

For more information on the Cleveland Foundation, visit and follow us on, Twitter @CleveFoundation and Instagram @CleveFoundation.

Case Western Reserve University: Case Western Reserve is one of the country’s leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, we offer a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Our leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Our nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,200 graduate students comprise our student body. Visit to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.

University Circle, Inc.: University Circle Inc (UCI) is the development, service, and advocacy organization responsible for the growth of University Circle as a premier urban district and world-class center of innovation in health care, education, and arts & culture. See more at:

Roots of American Music: Roots of American Music (ROAM) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to facilitate learning in diverse communities by providing customized arts programs, workshops, residencies and performances through use of traditional American music. Learn more at