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Cortland Summer Fest offers live music, fireworks

CORTLAND – Sycamore resident Rick Perkins was ready to enjoy the music Friday at Cortland Summer Fest.

With his wife Jan, Perkins brought his own lawn chair, equipped with a tray and cup holder, and set it right in front of the stage. It was his third time at the event.

“I love the music,” he said. “We come here for the music.”

Two local bands energized the crowd Friday at the annual event, which last year drew an estimated 3,000 attendees, said Cortland trustee Brad Stone. It was the fifth year of Cortland Summer Fest, which began after the mayor at the time wanted to add a summer event to complement the village’s fall festival, Stone said.

Camouflage Sun, a band from the western suburbs of Chicago, and Cortland-based heavy metal band 29 Needles performed Friday. A fireworks show also lit up the sky at dusk.

29 Needles guitarist Travys Lanning said it was an honor to play for his hometown of Cortland. The band has now played at Summer Fest for three years. Members practice three days a week for two hours.

“It’s really nice being a local band to play for the local town,” Lanning said. “It’s nice to be able to go up there and have fun with everybody.”

29 Needles is used to large crowds. In the past, they’ve opened for national bands such as Mushroomhead, Nothing More and Killswitch Engage.

They played 21 songs Friday, more than their typical 10 to 12 songs, said vocalist Skylar Jenson.

“We’re basically pulling out our whole catalog for this show,” Jenson said. “You have to have a good mindset and prepare yourself physically as well.”

The live music continues today with The Relics taking the stage from 12:30 to 3 p.m., The Menagerie from 3:30 to 7 p.m. and Back Country Roads from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m.

Festival-goers attended the event for more than just the music.

The fireworks show attracted families with children of all ages. DeKalb resident Jill Corneille was with her 1-year-old daughter Riley and boyfriend Eric King.

Riley had never seen fireworks until Friday. Corneille brought Riley to the summer festival to soak up the small town atmosphere, she said.

“It’s quaint,” Corneille said. “She likes to run around. It’s nice because I feel comfortable enough to let her roam without being on her tail. This is a nice, family environment.”

Cortland resident Jim Miller also was at the event to see the fireworks with his two daughters and wife. It was Miller’s first time attending.

“It’s beautiful out here. You couldn’t have asked for a better night,” he said.

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