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By Elmer Ploetz
JAM Editor

Has it really been 25 years since the first Americanarama in Buffalo? Time flies when you’re having fun.

The Americanarama festivals were indeed fun, and there were eight of them (if memory serves), running from 1997 to 2004, put together by the Steam Donkeys (with our Buckwords columnist Buck Quigley telling how it all came together in his piece this month).

The 2003 version was also the first year that I had a digital camera. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is a photo gallery from that day in June (the Americanaramas were always held the week of Flag Day, which is June 14).

The festivals, which were held at the Pierce Arrow on Elmwood Avenue the first few years and then at Mohawk Place, brought together the best of the local roots music scene with some choice visitors (such as Cleveland’s Cowslingers, who were always a visual treat – which is why they have so many photos in this gallery!).

In the gallery, you’ll see bands, fans, a hot dog-eating contest and the Miss Americanarama Mama pageant (which wasn’t about swimsuit modeling, but about which of the women in the audience could convince the crowd they were the most Americana).

The festival took place over two days that year, and took over East Mohawk Street for the block in front of Mohawk Place. Archives show performers included  Redheaded Stepchild, the Hickory Windbreakers, Coal Palace Kings, Rob “Just Hank” Falgiano, Mountain Jam, Creek Bend, Semi-Tough, Redgills, Rex Hobart and the Wrecks, the Outlyers, Scott Carpenter & the Real McCoys, Irving Klaws, the Steam Donkeys, the Cowslingers, Danny Lynn Wilson, Bob Beckley, the Murder Mountain Boys, G Scott, the Neighbors, the Cash Only Band, Pete Worden and the Hardtimers, Michael Meldrum, Peter Kalla, Karen Hudson and Two Cow Garage.

Wow, how’s that for a lineup? Check out the gallery to see who you can identify. If you’ve been around awhile, there may be lots of familiar — but younger — faces.

Meanwhile … we’ve got some video, too!

First, the Outlyers:

Then we’ve got Scott Carpenter & the Real McCoys:

And, finally, the Cowslingers:










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