X Ambassadors, The Roots headlining Cayuga Sound Festival

Tompkins Weekly Staff

Photo by Catie Laffoon
Members of X Ambassadors include, from left, Casey Harris and Sam Harris, both Ithaca natives, and Adam Levin.

X Ambassadors, the platinum-selling rock band whose founding members hail from Ithaca, are returning to their roots next weekend as they host the inaugural Cayuga Sound Festival.

Not only will the festival bring together local and national acts – including The Roots – for attendees listening pleasure, it also will serve to benefit local non-profit organizations.

The festival will take place Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23, at Stewart Park and other local venues in town. This Fiction and DSP Shows are co-presenters for the festival.

In addition to X Ambassadors and The Roots, other performers that will take the stages during the event include K.Flay, The Knocks, Margaret Glaspy, Jukebox the Ghost, Tei Shi and more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit local non-profits including Friends of Stewart Park, the Ithaca Youth Bureau, GIAC, Planned Parenthood Ithaca, and Community School of Music & Arts.
“My brother Casey and I are proud to call ourselves native Ithacans,” said X Ambassadors lead singer Sam Harris in a prepared statement. “The city is an important part of our identity, personally and professionally. We cut our teeth as musicians in Ithaca, so X Ambassadors owe the city a great deal.
“We wanted to curate a music festival in Ithaca that celebrates the city where we hail from with an eclectic line-up of artists from all different genres of music, wonderful food and drink from local vendors,” he added, “and the opportunity to give back to the community we are so proud to be a part of.”

Seth Kallen, founder of This Fiction, management for X Ambassadors, noted that Ithaca has a “strong musical heritage,” and that members of the band had a chance to see “tons of roots music, bluegrass, world music and more.”
“However, as kids, they felt there was a lack of hip-hop, alternative music, pop and R&B shows – the music they loved and built the foundations of the band around,” he said in a prepared statement. “We want to bring something special to Ithaca with this festival. We all believe Cayuga Sound will become a long lasting event in upstate New York, bringing together people from across the region to dance, eat and drink.”

Dan Smalls, founder of DSP Shows (formerly Dan Smalls Presents), said he’d wanted to put together a bigger event for some time, “but until now the vision wasn’t clear.”
“After working with X Ambassadors in all their incarnations over the past 8 years we have watched them grow and mature and truly earn the worldwide status they have reached,” he said in a prepared statement. “This is a match made in heaven and we cannot wait to share all we have up our sleeves to celebrate Ithaca and the Finger Lakes during this truly memorable week in Ithaca!”

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick called the festival “an enormous opportunity for the City of Ithaca.”
“It promotes what’s best about our community – culture, the environment, and the economy,” he said in a prepared statement. “As a fan, I’ll be camping out to see X Ambassadors, and as a recovering drummer, I’m extremely excited to see QuestLove and The Roots.”

Cayuga Sound Festival will offer two stages in the park on Saturday, September 23, featuring an eclectic mix of talent from national touring acts to the home grown local talent from Ithaca and the region. Local vendors will be on site to offer attendees a taste of local food and drink. Additional information on tickets, travel, hotel accommodations and festival details can be found at CayugaSoundFestival.com.