The Bocks’ foray into hosting some of the best blues in Northeast Ohio began in 2010, when they debuted Bocktoberfest, a celebration of life for Stacey’s mother who died suddenly of a heart attack the day after her 69th birthday.
“We carried 100 pallets in from the back field into our front yard to accommodate the bands,” Stacey says. “It was painstaking labor, but the event was full of love, laughter, hugs and dancing.”
Year after year, word about the event began to spread, and the crowd at Bocktoberfest continued to grow. In 2014, a lineup that included the Womack Family Band was washed out when the heavens opened up and the rains poured down. So the Bocks decided they needed a permanent stage with a roof, and the idea for the barn was born.
The roots for the one-of-a-kind barn trace back to Clarksdale, Mississippi, where the couple listened to blues at the Shack Up Inn and attended the Juke Joint Festival in 2009. They wanted to bring a bit of that rhythm back. So in 2012, the Bocks turned their basement into a juke joint, a space evoking the gathering places for plantation workers and sharecroppers in the late 1800s when society limited where black people could socialize and relax.
“We fell in love with both Mississippi architecture and the spirit of the blues,” Stefan says. “We wanted to bring that here.”
A call from a friend in 2015 alerted the Bocks to the owner of a 150-year-old carriage house giving away the wood to whomever tore down the structure. Armed with a couple ladders, some hammers, a pick-up truck and zero construction experience, Stacey and Stefan dismantled the house board by board over several weeks and moved the wood into their own front yard.
Using Google and YouTube videos, the Bocks built the base of the barn and posted pictures on Facebook. Over the next few months, friends and strangers who saw their progress on social media showed up to lend a hand, and the structure came together with a roof, bathroom, kitchenette and bed for staying overnight.
The Bocks open the barn two to three times a year for house concert-style gatherings in their whimsical, light-strung listening room. Although still under the radar, Bocktoberfest has steadily been packing the space. Held Aug. 12, the music fest features five acts over six hours.
“When people come here,” Stacey beams, “they juke, they have fun and they are transformed.”
3 Acts to See at Bocktoberfest
The Wakeman, Ohio, 18-year-old singer-songwriter, who was a Top 12 finalist on The Voice in 2016, already has written more than 100 original songs and released three EPs and two LPs.
The Michael Weber Show
Nineteen-year-old guitarist and Kent State University student Michael Weber fuels the explosive rock group that combines high energy, ’70s-inspired rock with Stevie Ray Vaughn blues.
The female-led blues-rock band laced with horns is known for its great beats, bobbing heads and great stories between songs.
9:00 AM EST
August 11, 2017