An ‘alternative’ to GOP convention


On the same day the grownups are having their party in Cleveland next month, the kids will be having their own party in Columbus — thanks to a man with Delaware County roots.

That is the attitude Cleveland-based Alternative Press magazine founder and president Mike Shea has regarding the third Journeys Alternative Press Music Awards show July 18 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus.

Shea’s ancestors came from Ireland and settled in Delaware County in the 1860s, then moved to Cleveland in the mid-1870s. “I am still looking at finding out more about their time in the Delaware County area,” he said.

The July 18 show will celebrate the hottest new alternative artists from around the world along with a host of music legends — and with cutting-edge performances the show has come to be known for.

And what could be more cutting edge that an on-stage collaboration between legendary heavy metal vocalist Rob Halford of Judas Priest and the Japanese metal/J-pop fusion band Babymetal, along with headliners A Day to Remember, Good Charlotte and Dashboard Confessional, to name just a few.

In addition, Marilyn Manson, whose career has shaped alternative music for generations, will receive the evening’s ultimate honor, the Icon Award.

This year’s televised awards show was scheduled to be held in Cleveland, but the presidential election threw a wrench into AP’s plans. The Republican National Convention begins the same day in Cleveland, forcing the awards show organizers to look elsewhere for their show.

“We were bummed out that we had to leave. We try to coincide with the Vans Warped Tour 2016, and when they have a day off and in this region,” Shea said . “We tried to find the time in the tour when they would be in this area.” The Vans Tour is in Cuyahoga Falls July 20 and Cincinnati July 21, and the only week that worked was the week that the RNC was having its national convention, he said.

“So we really came down to one day, and the RNC had basically taken over Cleveland, there were no hotels, nothing else available, so we literally had no choice,” Shea said. “So we thought, since everyone in Columbus was heading up to Cleveland, why don’t we we go to Columbus?”

Shea said their attitude was: “The parents are out of town, so why don’t we throw a party?” He said Columbus is going to be packed with events that weekend, too. The Promo West Fest is that weekend, but there is no clash there, Shea pointed out. “We compliment each other.”

Shea added that the awards show will have fun with the political climate in the air that week. “We are actually having a mock political convention before the show. Our two hosts are running for president and will hold a mock political debate. The whole place will be decorated like a convention. We figured, we will hold an alternative convention in Columbus on the same night as the RNC holds the first night of the convention in Cleveland. The kids got to have something. After all the politics, we will need something a little more light-hearted.”

How is the planning going? “It’s going well, we are ahead of schedule and we are excited by this. We are lucky it is working out considering we are not in our backyard this time. Several trips back and forth between Cleveland and Columbus over the next few weeks and we will really be kicking it in high gear,” he said.

The biggest buzzworthy announcement at this year’s show is not only the appearance by the “everybody is talking about” band Babymetal, but the fact that the band fronted by three teenage girls will do an onstage collaboration with Judas Priest legend Rob Halford.

In addition to this collaboration, A Day to Remember, one of the largest bands in the alternative music community will headline the show.

“They sells tons of records, they always chart really high and they have a new album coming out the Saturday before the show so the timing is great,” Shea said. “They are a great bunch of guys. It has been a great opportunity for us to have them come and headline.”

“It is going to be exciting to see what they will do at the show. It won’t be that they come and do what they normally do. At our show, it will always be something different than them just headlining. We will have performances that you are only going to see at our show.”

At the show, in addition to the Best International Band, winners will be named for: Best Vocalist, Best Guitarist, Best Bassist, Best Drummer, Best Live Band, Best Music Video, Best Underground Band, Breakthrough Band, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Artist of the Year.

To vote, here is the website for Alternative Press:

Other performers include Dashboard Confessional, Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, Of Mice & Men, Papa Roach, Issues, the Maine, Beartooth, Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive and Machine Gun Kelly.

AP Music Awards tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster. VIP experience packages are available via SoundRink — An Experience Company — and will include limited merchandise, elite access to the red carpet and prime indoor seating and VIP meet-and-greets. VIP tickets are limited. The APMAs is also partnering with PromoWest Fest (, Columbus, July 15-17), so tickets will be available via their box office through Ticketmaster as well.

Cleveland-based Alternative Press magazine founder and president Mike Shea. Alternative Press magazine founder and president Mike Shea. Courtesy photo | Nisha Sondhe
Alternative Press founder bringing show to Columbus

By Gary Brock

[email protected]

About Alternative Press:

Now in its 30th year, Cleveland-based Alternative Press continues to be on the forefront of discovering new artists, breaking news and reporting on the latest trends in music and youth culture. Since its early days as a pasted-up fanzine in the mid-’80s, Alternative Press is one of the largest music magazines in the world. AP provides in-depth interviews and exclusive photos, making it an essential collectors piece for a passionate fan base, as well as digitally through various mobile formats.

Gary Brock can be reached at 937-556-5759 or on Twitter at GBrock4.

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