King of the fright time: Fright Night goes all out ‘80s with several acts for 40th anniversary |

King of the fright time: Fright Night goes all out ‘80s with several acts for 40th anniversary

Katrina Paz
Special to Prospector


WHAT: 40th anniversary of Fright Night

WHEN: Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City

TICKETS : $22 in advance, $27 at the door and available online at, by phone at 530-265-5040, or in person at the Miners Foundry or Briar Patch Co-Op. Show is for ages 16 and up.

INFO:  Call 530-265-5040 or visit for more information

Locals go big for holidays in Nevada City and for most there’s no bigger holiday than Halloween. Colors are magnificent, homes are decked out to the nines and the Miners Foundry puts on a party like no other.

This year the annual Fright Night lineup has a definite ‘80s theme featuring the music of KISS by Destroyer; Steady Static performing Siouxsie and the Banshees, Just Like Heaven, the ultimate tribute to The Cure; and Joan Jett & The Glitterhearts. The evening also features the Vixens of Vinyl, DJs Owen & Sugartroll (Shocks & Struts), Gary The Clown, Hare In the Moon reading tarot and Daughters of Diablo Burlesque.

“I got pretty lucky with this one,” Michael “Chappie” Chappell, co-producer of the event said. “I had already been talking to all of these bands and playing around with ideas for potential future shows for them. I had all the pieces to the puzzle already laid out in front of me and with this new opportunity to work with the Foundry a bigger picture began to emerge. The timing was perfect and everything just kind of clicked into place.”

Chappell, who’s never taken part in Fright Night, says his shows are typically unique and different. This Saturday’s show, he notes, will have no breaks or intermissions; it will be nonstop entertainment in every room of the Foundry.

The stone room will have an astrology/tarot card reader and plenty of visuals, including a Dia de los Muertos shrine to dead rock icons. In the bar/lobby there will be DJs and classic black and white horror movies projected onto the walls.

Live music will be featured in the Osborn/Woods Hall, along with DJs, burlesque dancers and a “really horrible clown with really terrible jokes” as the MC for the evening.

“It’s got a little something for anyone with good taste and even a little something for those with bad taste,” he said.

40 years of Fright Night

Fright Night dates back to 1978 when Bobby Angel coined the name and produced the first five Fright Nights at the American Victorian Museum as a fundraiser for KVMR. The first Fright Night was $2 with costume; simulcast live on KVMR and featured Mighty Dread, Harry Harpoon and the House Wreckers and a special appearance by the Phantom of the Opera.

Forty years later, Fright Night has gone through many producers including artists and visionaries David Osborn and Charles Woods, KVMR and Foothill Theatre Company. It is now considered one of the Foundry’s largest fundraisers.

All the musicians selected their music for specific reasons, thus adding an authenticity to the evening. Chris Streng from Steady Static has been involved in tribute bands for Motorhead, Velvet Underground, David Bowie and Nirvana. They picked Siouxsie and the Banshees to give the event a proper old school goth/glam night.

“I think Siouxsie and the Banshees resonate with audiences because they offer something different from the usual, macho rock vibe,”Chappell said. “The songs are intricate and mysterious but still pack a strong emotional punch.”

Just Like Heaven’s David Horning has always been a huge Cure fan, acknowledging that Robert Smith is the coolest most underrated rock star ever.

“I spent so many hours when I was younger listening to The Cure and imagining what it would be like to perform these songs in front of a live audience and now it’s just amazing to actually do it and feel the energy and love from the crowd when it all comes together at our shows,” Horning said.

Jesse Locks with the Miners Foundry adds that even if you’re not a huge fan of the music, the costumes alone are a reason to come out. Attendees tap into their creativity and ingenuity to create amazing costumes. A costume contest will take place around 11 p.m. and Meri St. Mary from KVMR will host the contest, which is audience choice.

Contestants will receive a one-year membership to the Foundry for participating and winners swill receive a gift certificate to a local business, as well as bragging rights.

The celebration is a 16-and-over show, making it available to young adults who often have little to do for such occasions.

“I remember growing up here and going to Fright Night and it was really fun to get dressed up and go see a rocking band at the Foundry,” Locks said.

Katrina Paz is a freelance writer for Prospector and is a resident of Grass Valley.

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