While you drive to or around 3948 Soliders Home-Miamisburg Road in Miamisburg, Ohio, the large steel barn stands firmly on the property. The generously proportioned structure is showing the beginning stages of typical wear and tear on the rooftop. Meanwhile, the inside of the barn is still intact. You take notice of the wood beams that are steadily holding up the shed and high rise ceiling. The picturesque farm land that accompanies the barn is tranquil and pleasing. Not much traffic flows through, which gives it the serene tone.
The barn has been the centerpiece to many events since the day of its construction. Stories from the past and present are quietly cemented within its walls. Tales of life will be forever etched in memory. While he lived on the five acres of land that also included the barn, Eric Suttman would let others create their own unforgettable moments in the barn as well. In 1999, Suttman began the bi-annual musical experience BarnJam. Come rain or shine, patrons were allowed to camp, build fires, and enjoy the music together in their own way on the property. Starting out as a few bands jamming together, the festival has become one of the most anticipated events in the area that hundreds of people look forward to each spring.
Born in 1959, Suttman went to St. Albert the Great School and was a graduate of Alter High School. Being well known as a lifelong musician and being respected for his work in recording, Suttman was fortunate enough to be the winner of multiple local Emmy Awards for music and production. What Suttman will be forever known for, however, is his dedication and passion for teaching at the university he received his degree from-the University of Dayton. For over thirty-three years, he brought a genuine love to the classroom each day that reached his students in ways that he would never realize. Although Suttman passed away last April from cancer, the lives he touched will not be forgotten.
BarnJam was more than just a festival to Suttman. He saw it as an opportunity to promote the music scene by showcasing local and regional musical talent. He also aimed to raise money for local arts-based charitable organizations. On top of all that was his desire to help build communities. Have individuals reach out to one another as a way of connecting, while building friendships on his land.
This year, the group that will run the event wanted it to be accessible to the public more than what it has been. The decision was made for BarnJam to be located on the Great Miami River just outside Dayton in Tipp City.
On April 18th, 3948 Soliders Home-Miamisburg Road in Miamisburg, Ohio will be oddly quiet. The sounds of music won’t be blaring out to the night sky. Lights all hung around will be essentially turned off. The land won’t be occupied with hundreds of tents sprawling all over. It’s hard to imagine that BarnJam will no longer be the backdrop at the farm, but the new location promises to continue the spirit of what Suttman wanted when he first organized the festival.
The memories and stories made on Suttman’s land, and more importantly the barn, will always live on.
BarnJam 31 will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at Adventures on the Great Miami. Rain or Shine. $10 at the door, $5 with student ID.
The musical acts performing this year are:
The Backporch Jam
R & D Blues
Andy Mustang and the BarnJam All-Stars