LIMA — Sizzling guitar riffs and bombastic drum beats echoed throughout the Allen County Fairgrounds on the first day of Loud N Lima Friday.
As longtime heavy metal group Dokken hit the stage as dusk approached, the crowd, enduring the sweltering heat, thrashed their heads and sang along to the classics that many in the crowd have been reciting for more than 30 years.
Jim Lail, 50, from Miamisburg, came to see Dokken and the other groups on the line-up such as Steel Panther and Winger.
“Probably nostalgia,” said Lail of why he traveled to Lima for the three-day event. “I go to a lot of concerts and here you get to see a lot of the 1980s bands again. They are not the headliners so you get them with one punch here.”
Even though the majority of the crowd leaned toward 50 — these hair bands were the soundtracks of their youth — there were young people in the crowd as well.
R.J. Gilliland, 21, and Tristan Woodruff, 20, made the hour and a half trek from Grove City to check out the Friday lineup. They are members of a heavy metal band, Neverdawn.
“I came to see Dokken,” Woodruff said. “Dokken was really it for me. I have been listening to them for years and just never had the chance to see them. I was raised on this music and it is why I started a band and why I play and do what I do now.”
Scott Artis and Tony Phillips, members of Facing Fire, out of Portsmouth, will be playing early Sunday. The group recently signed a record deal and are looking to put out an album.
“Our band is pretty new to the scene but these are all the bands that we listened to growing up so it was kind of an honor to be asked to play and stuff. It is quite a treat for us,” Phillips said. “We are glad to be here.”
Jake Bame, who along with Eric Schaaf, brought the event to the Allen County Fairgrounds was encouraged by the early crowds and how the operation was moving for the three-day event.
“It’s like any big event, you work out the kinks in the beginning,” Bame said. “I think people came in hesitant seeing if we could pull this off and so far everyone seems like they are having a good time. We thought we were going to have thunderstorms but we got sunshine and a little breeze.”
With 40 bands on the bill, Bame understood the demographics of the area. Bame said this may be a new location for them but he feels the company and the community partnerships are working well.
Bame added he hopes this type of concert becomes an annual event.
“This is probably better for Lima than for us because festivals like this don’t make money their first year and don’t make money in year two, three or four,” Bame said. “What we do know is the Lima hotels are full and people are in the restaurants. This is good for the community.”
And while Loud N Lima featured hair bands from the 1980s, Bame said that might change in the future.
“This is just the start for us,” Bame said. “Not that these are not big names.”
One curious addition this year was Three Doors Down as the headliner Friday night. The Save A Warrior foundation is providing individuals to help with the event.
“We were asked why them, and we said because they love their military and they love their country and this concert means a lot to us,” Bame said. “It is patriotism and pride.”