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summer concert series

Photos: 38 Special ROCKS Batavia Downs, record crowd

By Steve Ognibene


Batavia Downs saw record-breaking crowds tonight pack in to hear national recording artists .38 Special as part of its summer concert series.  Nearly 7,000 fans jammed into the sold-out venue last evening.

38 Special is an American rock band that was formed by Donnie Van Zant and Don Barnes in 1974 in Jacksonville, Florida.   

Lead Vocalist Don Barnes, led the southern rock 40-year-old band with famous hits like, “ Hold on Loosely," "Back where you belong," “Teacher, Teacher,” "You Keep Runnin’ Away,” “Somebody Like You” and “Caught up in You” and many, many more.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene










Tommy DeCarlo Boston Singer with (Special Guest) Rudy Cardenas at Batavia Downs

By Steve Ognibene


Tommy DeCarlo, lead singer of the legendary rock band Boston, played Friday evening at Batavia Downs as part of its annual summer concert series.

DeCarlo has performed on every Boston tour since 2007 playing to sold-out audiences all over the world.

This show closes with a full set of Boston classic hits from the 1970s and 80s. Touring professionals in DeCarlo's backing band include August Zadra on lead guitar/vocals (Dennis DeYoung Band), Walter Ino (Survivor/The Babys), Mike Morales on drums (Dennis DeYoung Band), Tommy DeCarlo Jr. on guitar/vocals, and Payton Velligan on bass/vocals.

The two-set show started with Rudy Cardenas of American Idol and a full set of Journey classic hits including the hits from both the Steve Perry and Gregg Rolie eras.

Cardenas has had a long relationship with Journey music starting in 2007 when he debuted on season 6 of American Idol singing "Open Arms" on national TV.

To view or purchase photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene









Friday night Jackson Square Concert Series with Deanna Spiotta

By Steve Ognibene


The Friday Night Jackson Square concert season opened last night and featured on the bill was up-and-coming local artist Deanna Spiotta.

The Batavia High School graduate has been singing for most of her life.  She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music from Nazareth College, lived in Nashville for a couple of years, and moved back home to WNY to continue her music and songwriting career.

She released her debut EP, “The In Between” last year, produced by 1809 Studios in Macedon.

Deanna is performing solos in the Rochester area and singing with Eric Carlin’s Half-Dead, a tribute to the Grateful Dead, and also performing in an acoustic duo called, Pushin’ Time with her fiancé, Eric Carlin.

Her music and tour can be found at

Opening up for Deanna were local artists Crimson Crossroads, Dave Knaudt and Ross Chua, two Batavia natives that just recently connected to start performing together. They can be followed on Instagram @daveknaudtmusic and

The Old Hippies and the Ghost Riders also performed Friday.

For a list of upcoming shows, click here.

To view or purchase more photos, click here.

Photos by Steve Ognibene








Rockin' the Downs tickets go on sale 8 a.m. Thursday, two more Summer concerts added

By Press Release

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel is pleased to announce the following additions to the upcoming Rockin’ the Downs Summer Concert Series.

Now kicking off the series on Friday June 11th is Almost Queen. The Ultimate Queen Tribute show delivers a live performance, showcasing signature four part harmonies and intricate musical interludes. Donning genuine costumes, Almost Queen recaptures the live energy and precision that is the Queen experience.

Closing the Summer Concert Series now on Aug. 27th will be American rock band The Spin Doctors, who will be making their Batavia Downs debut. Forming in the late '80s, this band went on to commercial success with chart topping hits like "Two Princes" and "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" from their smash hit album "Pocket Full of Kryptonite."

These two concerts are being put on in conjunction with Buffalo-based twenty6 Productions. 

“We are excited to begin working with Batavia Downs," said CEO and Founder of twenty6 Productions, Josh Holtzman. “We know people have been waiting for the return of live events and we’re looking forward to putting on great shows at Batavia Downs while adhering to all the safety measures instituted by New York State.”

As per guidance from New York State, capacity for all concerts at this time will be 2,500 ticket holders but more tickets will be added if capacity increases. All concertgoers MUST show proof of:

  • A negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of show time;


  • A negative Antigen COVID-19 test within six hours of show time;


  • Must show proof of completed immunization (14 days since final vaccination prior to event date).

There will be a Rapid Antigen test site in the parking lot the day of the concerts in order to allow ticket holders to get a rapid test on event dates. For concertgoers age 21+ with tickets each test costs $34.95. (For any New Yorker age 18 and up without a concert ticket, the rapid test costs $65.)

It his highly recommended that concertgoers get a vaccine or test prior to concert date in order to avoid any wait times on the day of the show. Concertgoers are responsible for scheduling and paying for any tests.

As per New York State Regulations, pairs of seats will be 6 feet apart and masks must be worn unless a person is seated and eating or drinking.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 29th, tickets for all concerts already announced will be available at Tickets will be available for purchase at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop located in the lobby ONLY on concert days if any tickets remain unsold on concert date.

Due to limited capacity, concert attendees MUST BE 21 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER. A limit of four tickets purchased per person will be enforced.

If between now and the concert date the regulations change, then Batavia Downs will adopt any modifications. Ticket holders are encouraged to visit or their social media pages to stay up to date on any new information.

Batavia Downs reschedules first two 'Rockin' the Downs' concerts to late August

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced that out of an abundance of caution surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the first two “Rockin the Downs” concerts scheduled for this June have been rescheduled to late August.

The Vince Neil concert scheduled for Friday, June 19th, 2020 will take place on Friday, Aug. 21st.

The Steve Augeri concert scheduled for Friday, June 26th, 2020 will take place on Friday, Aug. 28th.

So now the 2020 “Rockin the Downs” concert series will kick off with the regularly scheduled July 10th performance by Molly Hatchet.

Please note that all tickets already sold for these concerts will be honored on the new dates.

“We felt it was necessary to reschedule the start of the series,” said Henry Wojtaszek, CEO/president of Batavia Downs Gaming. “We are still looking forward to seeing everyone this summer, at time when local and state officials have determined it is safe to do so.”

Tickets to all concerts are available at

Photos: Theory of a Deadman at Batavia Downs

By Steve Ognibene


Canadian rock band Theory of a Deadman headlined Batavia Downs last evening in front of a jam-packed crowd to close out their 2019 summer concert series. 

The national recording artists draw a mixture of music styles of country, post-grunge and hard rock.

In 2017 the band released a new album "Wake Up Call" that features the song "Rx (Medicate)." Other top hits performed last evening were "Bad Girlfriend," "Angel" and "Hate My Life."









Photos: Three Dog Night at Batavia Downs

By Steve Ognibene


Three Dog Night packed Batavia Downs' summer concert series last evening in front of a few thousand people. The band formed in L.A. in  1968 and scored a succession of 21 hit singles, including 11 Top Tens, and 12 consecutive gold albums from 1969 to 1975.

Batavia fans were dancing and grooving to the band's multiple favorite tunes, crowd-pleasers that entertained at the most packed concert yet of this summer series.

(The band's name comes from an Australian expression describing low nocturnal temperatures in the Outback (the colder the night, the more dogs needed to keep warm while sleeping.))






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