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Summer in the city will be rocking at Lock 3 (a Knight Arts grantee) in downtown Akron. Tribute bands galore will be performing on most Friday evenings, with groups doing take-offs on such notable acts as Bob Seger; Bon Jovi; Elton John; Aerosmith; AC/DC; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Rascal Flats; Chicago; Abba; KISS; Pink Floyd; Journey; Tom Petty; and Led Zeppelin.

Appearing before their shows from 7-8 p.m. beginning May 25 and every Friday until the beginning of the first week of September, a total of 25 local rock bands will perform in a contest for cash prizes in the Akron area’s Local Band Showcase competition as part of the Rock the Lock festival. Admission to all the tribute and local band concerts is free.

Lock 3 canopy and grounds in downtown Akron host large summertime concerts.

The City of Akron has been bringing music to the downtown area for 10 years now. The venue alongside the restored Erie-Ohio canal site makes for a great summertime evening concert arena.

To get an idea of the potential impact of events like this, we need only recall that the Akron-spawned  Black Keys, three-time Grammy Award winners, debuted at Lock 3 in 2004.

This year, things change a little with the idea of a play-off for the region’s top musical rock and roll artists. Attendees will be able to vote electronically for their favorite band between 6:30-8:30 p.m. on the night of events if they purchase a beverage from a concession stand. Winners for the $5,000 cash prize money will be announced in early September after a final electronic vote-off for the crowd favorite.

To kick things off the JiMiller Band will perform Friday, May 25, from 7-8 p.m. followed by tribute band The Bob Seger Experience. Fittingly, the JiMiller Band had its origins in a tribute band when Jim Miller co-founded Oroboros (which means “infinity”) as a paean to the Grateful Dead. JiMiller Band still specializes in the style of jam band music that features extended improv sets and harks to groups like the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers.

The JiMiller Band was founded in 1998 by Jim Miller, and has current members: son Mike Miller, Steve Scheff, Brian Golenberg and Dave Blackerby.

The JiMiller Band with founder Jim Miller at far right.

They’ve performed since their founding, and have appeared on stage with musicians like Sheryl Crow, Bruce Hornsby, Little Feat and the Rhythm Devils.

For a complete list of local bands in the competition and the schedule, visit Lock 3 online.

Local Band Showcase, Lock 3 Park, 200 S. Main St, Akron; www.lock3live.com. Fridays, May 25-September 2, 7-8 p.m. Admission is free.

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