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Rock Autism Music Festival announces inaugural lineup

Inspired by his brother's story and what he considers a broken system for treating autism, Max Muscato has worked tirelessly for more than a year, playing dozens of local shows to raise money for autism awareness and to prepare for the debut of his Rock Autism Music Festival.

Muscato's work nears fruition, as he and the rest of the Rock Autism organization have announced details for the inaugural festival, which will run from noon to 11 p.m. Sept. 1 in Ellicottville Village Park (11 Parkside Drive, Ellicottville).

The lineup includes Strictly Hip, Big-Eyed Phish: A Dave Matthews Tribute Band, Max Muscato featuring Sonny Muscato, Tiny Music, the Tins, Deadwolf, Edalo, Ponder, Feverbox and XOXO.

[Related: See photos of Strictly Hip, the Tins and XOXO in action]

Tickets are on sale now, ranging from $15 for general admission ($20 day-of-show) to $40 for VIP; more information can be found here. The more expensive package features a private entrance, private full bar and private bathrooms.

Proceeds from the festival benefit music and art therapy programs at People Inc. and Autism Services of Western New York.

Born in Washington, D.C., but raised in Buffalo, Muscato savored the joys of music alongside his brother, Sonny, a talented drummer whose aspirations were soon curtailed by the effects of autism.

Due to a drug addiction and hanging out with the wrong crowds, Sonny Muscato has spent recent years in and out of jail, the Rock Autism "about us" notes. Sonny is slated to perform alongside his brother at the first Rock Autism Festival in September.

To push for improving the treatment of autism, Max Muscato joined together with Rock Autism vice president Alea Conte and a team of board and committee members, which you can find here.

*Related: Smiles and performance shots from one of Rock Autism's earlier fundraisers, with Handsome Jack and the Spin Wires, at Buffalo Iron Works.

Max Muscato, founder and president of Rock Autism, left, poses with Alea Conte, the non-profit's vice president, during a January fundraising show. (Chuck Alaimo/Special to The News)


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