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The Gem City Mardi Gras Threauxdown: Dayton celebrates the music and food of New Orleans

Solistic and Phil's Big Ass Brass Band in WYSO's performance studio.
Juliet Fromholt
Solistic and Phil's Big Ass Brass Band in WYSO's performance studio.

This week on Kaleidoscope, WYSO music director Juliet Fromholt hosted a live preview of the Gem City Mardi Gras Threauxdown, an annual New Orleans-inspired carnival celebration at the Brightside in Dayton. The event takes place this year on Saturday, February 10. Musicians set to play Threauxdown, including members of Solistic and Phil’s Big Ass Brass Band, performed live in WYSO’s studios, and spoke with Juliet about New Orleans’ role in shaping diverse spheres of American music. The guests also discussed the Cajun food and entertainment scheduled for the evening.

As in previous years, Solistic and Krewe will take center stage at the Gem City Threauxdown. (In traditional Mardi Gras celebrations, “krewes” are social groups who organize parades and other festivities.) This year, Solistic’s guests include Heather Redman, David Payne, Chris Coalt, Sharon Lane, and Danny Sauers, who will MC the event.

According to Khrys Blank, a member of Solistic and founding organizer of the Threauxdown, the concert represents a union of New Orleans’ and Dayton’s musical cultures. “Every guest brings something different to the table. New Orleans has all of these genres that aren't always touched or intermixed, so it's really nice when you get someone like David Payne or Heather Redman or Sharon or Chris Coalt coming from one area of our genre here in Ohio and pulling in the New Orleans vibe.”

In Mardi Gras tradition, decadent food and drink feature prominently at Gem City Threauxdown. Kung Fu BBQ will offer cajun-inspired entrees, and Big Sky Bread Company will sell individually-sized king cakes and soft pretzels. A limited-edition beer brewed by Dayton’s Devil Wind brewery, “Fat Brewsday” pale ale, will also available for purchase.

Finally, the Gem City Mardi Gras Threauxdown will also feature tarot readings, live painting, and a magician. Khrys told Juliet that, over the past half-decade, she has seen the event grow from a passion project to beloved community tradition. “Every year it gets better and better, with more people, more community, more collaboration, and more opportunities for everybody to understand what Mardi Gras is and how we, here in Dayton, can celebrate it,” she said.

Tickets are available in advance for $20 or at the door for $25. For more information, visit the Brightside’s website.

Text by Peter Day, adapted from a live studio session recorded by Juliet Fromholt on January 31, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.