The first major music festival in over a year in Northwest Indiana happens this weekend in Hobart. Flight Levelz Entertainment will fire up the amps at the city's historic Brickie Bowl for a seven-plus hour country throw down that will feature four national touring artists and one that is a Region favorite.
This year's Hometown Country Jam sports the exact same line-up that was booked for the 2020 sophomore production -- hit-making headliner Lee Brice -- supported by a trio of up and coming Nashville-based opening artists. They are former 2018 "American Idol" contender Julia Cole ("Hold My Hand," "Side Piece,"); Terra Haute, Indiana native Dylan Schneider ("You Heard Wrong" and "How Does It Sound"), and Lee's own little brother, Lewis Brice ("Best Ex Ever").
Regional talent, Jonny James, will open the show for the stellar line-up of imported country artists. Chesterton's James has been on the bill for a number of Flight Levelz' shows since the company began in 2019 and has ventured down to Tennessee's Music City a few times himself to record some of his original songs.
This Saturday's concert was rescheduled, not once but twice. After COVID forced the original date to cancel, it was rescheduled to the early fall of 2020, and when COVID restrictions prevented that date from happening, it was moved to this weekend.
The twice delayed event, while frustrating for ticket holders and those presenting the concert, may have helped in the long run. During that time, Lee Brice who's known for the hits "Hard To Love," "A Woman Like You," "I Drive Your Truck," and "I Don't Dance" -- landed three more #1 radio hits with the songs "Rumor," "I Hope You're Happy Now," and "One of Them Girls," -- making the already established hit-maker an even bigger headliner and adding more drawing power.
The producer bringing this concert line-up to town is Tyrus Joseforsky, a Hobart native and a 2014 graduate of Hobart High School, who also happens to be a commercial airline pilot, hence the catchy Flight Levelz Entertainment brand he is steadily building. "As a pilot you have a lot of time off and I'm someone who always has to be doing something, so this is something that definitely keeps me busy," Joseforsky said.
The idea for trying his hand at concert promoting came one day after talking to a fellow pilot who once filled his off time as a touring country music artist. "I was a DJ when I was younger and before that as a little kid would put together local baseball and football tournaments, so I always liked putting together events," he said. Talking with that pilot made a light bulb go off. Next thing, he was meeting with city officials in Hobart and presenting a plan to do a country concert.
Joseforsky's first foray into the business of music events was not exactly a toe in the pool situation, but rather jumping into the deep end of the pool. It was 2019's first Hometown Country Jam, featuring headliner Montgomery Gentry. "That first show was an eye-opener. I got a business degree in what to do and not do in about six months. A lot of things went wrong, but a lot of things went right too." Joseforsky cited the hail storm that interrupted that 2019 four band performance, but then highlighted how "the show must go on" adage proved to be true that year once the weather broke.
"The Brickie Bowl is a great venue for us," said Joseforsky when questioned about the iconic football field where over the decades, games and events sometimes had to be canceled due to flooding issues. "The new construction the city did on the bridge down river actually took the Brickie Bowl out of the flood plain from all indications, because it hasn't flooded since then. It's also a great venue, because the community center is right there and it provides the artists with a 'green room' and a backstage area."
Bringing in a large stage, sound and lighting production, and having adequate power doing big concerts still remains a bit of a challenge, but is not enough to deter the young entrepreneur who said that while he currently produces shows for enjoyment, he sees the day it could possibly become his full time livelihood. "Hopefully, down the road, the issue of power might change, because there's been talk of the city making investments into bringing power down there which would be a huge help for anyone doing any kind of events (at Brickie Bowl) in the future."
Of his helping establish Jonny James with frequent bookings, Joseforsky just really likes the young NWI union steel worker's music and his determination to chase his dream and pursue his own musical path. "I really like his music and his attitude," he said.
Along with performances, the all ages event will feature several of Northwest Indiana’s most popular food trucks/vendors and a wide variety of beer selections.
Joseforsky is happy to say all VIP Tickets for Saturday are sold out, but plenty of general admission tickets are still available. Find tickets and more information at HometownJams.com.
Along with Saturday's Brickie Bowl concert, Flight Levelz Entertainment has two more major outdoor country music shows in the works and currently on sale. First up is The Eli Young Band -- known for such hits as "Crazy Girl," "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," "Drunk Last Night," and "Love Ain't" -- at Central Park on June 17 with tickets priced at $35. Then comes Randy Houser -- known for such radio and charted hits like "How Country Feels," "In God's Time," "We Went," "Runnin' Outta Moonlight," and "What Whiskey Does" -- for a show on Aug. 27 at Central Park with tickets priced at $40.
"I love doing outdoor shows with bigger names at bigger venues in the summer months, but I'll be doing more indoor shows when the weather gets colder back at Hobart Art Theater again," Joseforsky said.