Stage at Taste of Cincinnati To Be Named in Honor of Katie Reider

katie reider
Katie Reider

In the family of late Cincinnati singer-songwriter Katie Reider, saying or writing the number 3 meant “I love you” – a tradition started by Katie’s younger brother Andy that stuck.

So it’s fitting that Reider’s memory will be honored in three ways – with a stage, an award and day – at Taste of Cincinnati USA, the annual festival of local food and music where Reider performed for 10 years.

After a family- and fan-led effort that included an online petition signed by more than 1,100 people, Taste of Cincinnati organizers and Enquirer Media announced today that a Taste stage featuring original music will be named the Katie Reider Stage Presented by Metromix Cincinnati.

The Katie Reider Stage will be located in the Procter & Gamble Gardens during the 31st annual festival, which takes place May 23-25 along Fifth Street downtown. It will be the first time that a stage at Taste of Cincinnati, the nation’s longest-running culinary arts festival, will bear a performer’s name.

“Katie was emblematic of the strength and spirit of the Cincinnati music scene on the whole,” said Chris Kemper, public relations director of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. “We felt that this was a fitting and lasting tribute to her and her contributions to the music scene.”

“We’re thrilled and honored to be a part of this,” said Reagan Zugelter, marketing partnership manager for Enquirer Media. “We think this is a great way to help honor Katie, and it’s a great thing for the community.”

Organizers are also creating a music award in Reider’s name, which will be presented annually at Taste to a local musician who “personifies Reider’s essence and that of the Cincinnati music scene.” The inaugural award will be presented posthumously to Reider this year and will be called the Katie Reider Spirit of Music Award thereafter. Members of the Reider family will serve on the panel of judges.

And on May 23, what would have been Reider’s 31st birthday, a ceremony will be held featuring remarks from Reider’s family and friends, her music and a mayoral proclamation designating May 23 as Katie Reider Day in the City of Cincinnati.

“We’re honored that the chamber and the folks at Taste and Metromix would want to do that,” said Katie Reider’s father, Rob Reider of Montgomery, known to many Cincinnatians as the singer on “The Bob Braun Show” in the 1970s and ’80s.

“(Katie would) think it was really cool,” Reider said. “I think she’d be knocked out that people care that much.”

Reider had a devoted local following and a growing national profile when, in 2006, she developed a rare facial tumor that took away her vision in one eye, her voice and ultimately her life on July 14, 2008.

Taste of Cincinnati marked the start and end of her career, which also included four independent albums, five Cincinnati music awards and songs on television shows including “Dawson’s Creek.”

Reider first performed at Taste with her band on May 23, 1998, and last performed there with her band in 2007. That year, Reider and her family – partner Karen (Boone) Reider, who is from West Chester Township, and their sons Aiden and Koen – drove nine hours from their Montclair, N.J., home to Cincinnati so Katie could perform at Taste, even though she had been bedridden for a month, Karen Reider said.

“She was adamant that this was a show she couldn’t miss,” said Reider, who currently is traveling around the country with her sons. “It was a great show, and I remember both of us thinking, how did she pull that off?

“It’s just cool that it’s Taste that would honor her this way. It will make her birthday a lot easier to bear for all of her family.”

Katie Reider’s birthday also will mark the one-year anniversary of a Web site dedicated to her, Longtime friend Lauren Fernandes of Los Angeles-based Three Chapeau Productions launched the site to raise awareness of Reider’s illness and share her music.

The site’s goal was to introduce 500,000 people to Reider’s music in one year, and now it could do that in one weekend, as Taste draws approximately that many visitors annually, Fernandes said. More than 81,000 people have visited the site to date, and it has received more than 3 million views, she said.

“It’s the perfect ending to the first part of the story,” Fernandes said. “The goal is always to spread her music and to keep her voice alive.”

The singer’s fans hope that the Katie Reider stage will become a fixture at Taste, just as she was.

Chamber public relations director Kemper said Taste of Cincinnati organizers plan to continue the Katie Reider stage beyond this year but that it depends on sponsorship agreements, which they determine annually.

Sean Rhiney, an attorney and musician who co-founded Cincinnati’s MidPoint Music Festival, said a continuing Katie Reider stage would reflect well on the city.

“It’s important for Cincinnati to recognize its own heritage,” he said. “We sometimes play ourselves down, but we’ve got some things to be pretty proud about.”

Performers for the stage have not yet been determined.

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