OUROBOROS’ Lead Guitarist Nick Czar rocks out. submitted photo
by Joe Schulz
After forming last fall, the 1970s inspired rock group Ouroboros is set to debut its first album Saturday, June 29 as part of the first-ever Wharf Fest at Deacon Mills Park.
Wharf Fest is free with doors opening at 2 p.m. and music starting at 3. The event also features food, artisan vendors and children’s games.
Three bands will perform three genres of music, with each getting about an hour and a half on the Starlight Stage.
The bluegrass band Material Boys will open the event at 3 p.m. Event coordinator Jon Ahrens, who also started Ouroboros, went to see the band live before booking them to play at Wharf Fest.
“They blew my socks off,” the Green Lake resident said. “Everyone was dancing; even people that don’t usually like that kind of music.”
Thee Grateful Dub will follow by putting a reggae spin on classic rock at 5 p.m.
“It’s good music for a summer event right before the Fourth of July,” Ahrens said.
Ahrens’ band Ouroboros then will take the stage at 7 p.m., playing ’70s inspired original rock music as well as a few select cover songs.
Jon Ahrens gives it his all at a previous performance. He started the band Ouroboros, which will headline Wharf Fest Saturday, June 29. submitted photo
Ahrens, who provides vocals and rhythm guitar for the group, noted before forming Ouroboros he would always join existing bands.
“This is the first time that I’ve put a band together,” he said. “This time I decided, I wanted to hand pick each one of the guys in the band.”
Lead guitarist Nick Czar also plays for the reggae band Natty Nation.
“His lead guitar is so reminiscent of Eric Clapton,” Ahrens said. “He can hear something I wrote, pick up on it and make the song sing.”
Jason Menting plays keys for Ouroboros and helped Ahrens book the opening acts for the event.
“I was in a band with [Menting] about 12 years ago and he played drums in that band,” Ahrens said. “He’s a really great guy.”
Ahrens believes one of the reasons group members work well together is because they were all in a similar place in life before joining the group.
“We were all musicians, but we weren’t able to play regularly because we all have young kids and are busy doing all of those fatherly things,” he said. “Everyone was just ready at the same time and as soon as we started getting together it worked out.”
Shortly after the band formed, a few members mentioned to Ahrens they didn’t join the band to play cover music.
“They joined the band to see what kind of music I would write,” Ahrens said. “As soon as they started talking about that I started writing again.”
At the time, Ahrens had taken a break from writing music for about seven years.
“All of this new music had been sitting there cooking for seven years,” he said. “It was the quickest writing process I’d ever had.”
Ahrens thinks his time away from writing gave him a bigger pool of life experiences to draw from when crafting this album.
“I’ve always been able to kind of measure where I am in life based on the songs I’m writing and the depth of the songs,” he said. “What I’m writing now is a reflection of the growth that’s happened over the last seven years.”
After getting back on the horse to write his first song in seven years, Ahrens presented the song to the group.
“Everyone just kind of jumped on it and it was beautiful; it was exactly what I imagined the song to be,” he said.
From there, Ahrens would write a song or two a week. Six weeks later, the band had a 10-song album.
“They all just fall right into the same family of songs,” he said. “They were meant to be this album.”
Ahrens believes Wharf Fest is the right place to debut the album and is funding the concert through donations.
“I decided let’s rent out the park, get a bunch of food trucks and throw a big party,” he said.
One of the food trucks is GypsySoul Food Truck.
“They’re actually the only food truck that’s been allowed to sell food inside of Alpine Valley,” Ahrens said.
He noted the event wouldn’t be possible without community support as Heritage Hemp Farm, Adam’s Rib and The Hogfather Barbeque are sponsoring the sound system for the concert.
“Everything is paid for by businesses within the community; it’s a free day of music in the park for anyone who wants to come,” he said.
Ahrens added if Wharf Fest is successful, it could turn into a multi-year event.
“I think if it’s beneficial to the community then I’ll definitely want to do it again,” he said.