Restaurateur Julian Wright says the Mill Avenue music scene had a heyday in the ‘90s, when Hayden Square Amphitheater would host national touring acts like Phish.
Wright, who owns Pedal Haus on Mill Avenue, is reviving the intimate outdoor venue and Tempe’s music scene with a one-day music festival aptly named Hay Day Music Fest. The event will take place on Saturday, September 28 from 2 to 11:30 p.m.
The lineup was handpicked by Wright, who wanted to showcase local bands both nostalgic and new. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, Las Calakas and The Pistoleros will be playing the amphitheater. Wise Monkey Orchestra and The Hourglass Cats will be playing inside Ted’s Refreshments, Wright’s newest concept that will open on Monday, September 16. The bar is located on the east side of Hayden Square near 4th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe. It was previously a music venue called Balboa Café.
“Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers’ original band was called The Refreshments. They used to play in said bar a lot. We could argue that’s where they got their start before they became a chart-topping national act,” Wright explains. “So [we’re] bringing it all back together, reactivating Hayden Square, doing a big concert, you got Ted’s Refreshments, Roger Clyne and a couple other really good bands that used to play in Tempe back in the day.”
Wright describes Ted’s Refreshments as a hybrid of a tiki bar, a dive bar, a sports bar and a live music venue.
“It’s got four different environments from the front patio to the back patio, so it’s got a little something for everybody,” he says. “It’s very playful, definitely not taking itself seriously.”
The bar will feature bamboo and tiki elements, vintage neon signs, beer tackers and Christmas lights that give it an eclectic, “elevated dive bar” feel.
“Our motto is kind of like, ‘If it doesn’t make sense, we’re going to try it.’ If somebody else is doing it, we’re going to do something different. We’re trying to be weird,” he says.
Wright says what sets Hay Day apart from other festivals is its small, intimate setting.
“This is a mini festival. In fact we’re calling it a ‘fest’… because it’s small. And there’s not really too many other outdoor areas that I know of that you can see live music in this kind of intimate setting,” he says. “This will be one of the few where you can be outside at night when the weather’s beautiful and see a collection of awesome bands.”
A general admission ticket will allow access to Hayden Square and Ted’s Refreshments, where patrons can purchase food and drinks. A VIP ticket provides a special seating area on an elevated deck with its own bar and a meal ticket.
Wright hopes to make Hay Day an annual event.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully putting on a really good event that gives us momentum to do it again next year,” Wright says.
Tickets can be purchased online at tedsrefreshments.com and will be $40 in advance, $50 at the door or $100 for a VIP package.