Two-Nine-Nine Old School Grill will turn a small stretch of Del. Rt. 299 into a spectacle of cover bands Saturday when five tribute bands crank up the volume on some classic hits by their famous counterparts.
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Middletown resident Sam Adams is a band promoter who routinely books bands for shows in Wilmington. But, when Two-Nine-Nine Old School Grill opened on St. Patrick’s Day, an idea that had been brewing began to take shape.
“I reached out to [co-owners] Janet [Forrest] and Bill [Bignall] to see if they’d be interested in hosting bands,” Adams said. “I mean, everyone I know here has to go to Wilmington, at least, to see good, fun bands. That costs you, not just for the tickets but the gas money, too. Why not start having those shows here?”
Bignall and Forrest were immediately on board. Just last week, they tested the waters with the 1980’s tribute band Weird Science.
“It was fun and the place was packed out,” Adams said. “We’re definitely bringing them back later this year.”
This weekend, the trio is collaborating to bring Middletown a day-long lineup of fun, noteworthy cover bands. Dubbed the “MOT Summer Jam,” the event kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m., with five bands covering the likes of The Rolling Stones, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses and Ozzy Osborne.
“These are exceptionally good bands,” Forrest said. “Even if you’re not a die-hard fan of each band, they all have songs that you’ve been singing along to for years.”
Adams added that the cover bands he’s bringing in—The Glimmer Twins, Van Halen Nation/Skeleton Crew, November Rain and Ozzman Cometh—are the next best thing to seeing the bands they play tribute to.
“To see The Rolling Stones, you’re talking about spending several hundred dollars for each ticket,” Adams explained. “These bands, who are all serious about their tributes, give you that same experience. Seriously. The Glimmer Twins look and sound so much like The Stones that you wouldn’t believe it.”
The Summer Jam was originally conceived as a country concert but the bands that Adams wanted to bring in for that all have conflicts. Forrest and Adams both said that as long as this weekend’s event is moderately successful, plans will move forward to hold the country version later this summer or in the fall.
“I’m working to get Florida Georgia Line and some other bands here,” Adams said. “We also want to do more with the 80’s music and some more fun tribute bands.”
With Adams dedicated to booking bands for his hometown, Forrest said that she’s most excited about introducing the area to her new restaurant and bar.
“There’s not much for adults to do right here in town,” she said. “We want to cater to the 35-and-over crowd and the people with the mindset of the over 35 crowd. We’re not looking to entertain the kids that want to get plastered. But, if you want to have a good time, have some good food and listen to some good, fun music, then we want you to know that you can do that here.”
This weekend’s event is f not just geared to adults. The family-friendly atmosphere will be amplified by bouncy houses from Jump on Over. People are also encouraged to bring lounge chairs.
“Tickets will be bracelets,” Adams said. “So, people will also have the option to come and go. We’ll have one huge stage outside and another inside for the last band of the night. It’s going to be a big, fun day of music.”