By Dave Hoffenberg
Nearing the end of summer is no fun, but it does mean something good and that is the return of Dougiepalooza at the Clear River Tavern on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 6 p.m. til midnight. This annual event is all about good tunes and family fun. This year’s event kicks off at 6 p.m. with Supply and Demand outside in the gazebo followed by Rick Redington and The Luv inside at 9 p.m. There is never a cover charge for music at the Clear and that includes this. I got a chance to speak with founder Doug Mianulli and Si Las, who is the lead vocalist and guitar player of Supply and Demand.
Dougipalooza came to be about five years ago. Mianulli said, “There were people in the Clear that played in bands who suggested that since the Clear is such a fun place for music and having a good time, that with the outdoor grounds, we should have a mini festival. I agreed to it and they called it Dougiepalooza, and we’ve been doing it ever since.” Some years it’s a big event with lots of bands and this year will be a little smaller but regardless, good times will be had by all.
Mianulli talked about what to expect on Saturday. “The Clear has always been known to be a great place for anyone [age] eight to 80. We have large grounds for kids to play in, we got all kinds of toys and yard games, music, locals and food. It’s very inviting to most people.” Dougiepalooza is really just an extension of the Clear in general. Mianulli said, “Once people get there if they’re from out of state, we call them our ‘Out of State Locals,’ plus we have our regulars, and everybody becomes part of the scene because they enjoy the Clear and the vibe so much.”
Mianulli has been working there for the past 22 years. He really loves it and said, “There is no place I would rather work. The type of people who come there are the people I really enjoy serving. I’ve watched their kids grow up because they’ve been coming for years. I’m a true server — I love to serve people. The Clear is a unique place. People walk in, sit down to order and I sit at the table with them. We talk about family and as we’re talking, we’re ordering food. It’s the atmosphere of family and friends that I enjoy. It’s not just a waiter coming up to take your order and go away. It’s communicating with the people and hanging out, being able to have that time to do that with them.”
The Clear has recently undergone some big changes. Manulli described it and said, “It’s moving forward by leaps and bounds. The inn has changed dramatically. It’s been gutted and now has beautiful rooms and decor.” The restaurant will be debuting a new executive chef in September — Tim Galvin — to work alongside Taylor. That will help [move] things along and keep things moving in a forward direction.”
Silas has been a part of this event since it started. He said, “Everybody that shows up, has a good time. It’s kind of slowly been building since then.” He looks forward to this event every year and said, “Every time you go in the Clear, you feel at home. It’s down to earth and mellow, everyone is super chill. That’s awesome for a regular act that gets to play music there. When you combine that with five or six other people, it has this energy that has a festival vibe to it. The Clear has a beautiful spot there, it’s a nice space. The combination between the space and the people makes for a nice experience that you remember.”
Joining Si Las and making up the rest of Supply and Demand will be Chris Pallutto on guitar, Evan Antal on bass, Steven Whipple on drums and Liam Bonerman Gentry on horns. Si Las said, “We’re going to give what we always do. I’m fortunate to play with some really tight musicians who are very talented. Dan Brown has played with us; we’ve had Steve Audsley back in the day. It’s been a consistent level of quality musicianship. We’re going to do a little bit of reggae, hip hop and some solid original music — something we can enjoy, where we can sit back and kick it. We’ll start the day off right.”
Brown is busy in the summer, so Pallutto stepped in, and Si Las is pumped. “It’s been really nice. He has a really nice repertoire of songs that pretty much anybody wants to hear. He’s a gigging musician that always wants to play. He can hold his own and he’s playing lead. Sometimes he plays lead for the majority of the time, like 75 to 25. He’ll sing when he wants, but he kind of just hangs out and shreds. That’s a good quality to have in a lead guitarist, straight shred.”
Si Las is super psyched to be opening for Redington. He said, “I used to play with Rick a bunch back in the day. I would go to Rick’s house ad get lessons from him. This is going to be a special event for me.”
Special indeed, make sure not to miss it. Mianulli added, “It’s a nice day of music with friends, hanging out and having a good time. I call it my little Woodstock. Everybody on the grounds hanging out, kids playing and families enjoying themselves.”