Live Band

John Vermeulen Octet

John Vermeulen is a favorite band in southwest Ohio. Based out of Columbus, they love to bring the joy of big band music to dancers. We're incredibly happy to have them onboard to play for us at Smackdown 2017!!


Mark Calkins

Mark’s deejay sets have been described as wonderfully whimsical (or tipsy) by a Yale faculty member. As the resident music coordinator for SwingColumbus he staffs 15 hours of live and deejayed music each month and also coordinates both the Columbus Lindy & Blues Exchange and Rocktober Lindy Hop Intensive Workshop Weekend. This will be his 5th year as a featured DJ at Dayton Swing Smackdown.

Joshua Forbes

Once upon a time, Josh DJ'd at Lindy Exchanges all over the MidWest region. Now, he primarily stays local and focuses on the pure joy that is Dayton. If you've ever stayed to the end of a Smackdown late night, Josh is known for continuously pissing people off by playing incredible music, forcing people to stay on the dance floor long after their bedtimes. His style is eclectic, funky, random, and fun.

Emily Schuhmann

Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky Emily Schuhmann’s been inspiring dancers to find their voice and connection with music that is as playful, spirited, intelligent, and conversational as she is! She loves a good mix of tunes tailored to the event and the dancers from lindy to balboa, Charleston, lindy, and maybe even a spice of trad-jazz or jug. She’s been absolutely obsessed with vintage music, dance and fashion since the early 2000’s and brings that to her song selections. You’ll find her infectious smile and love of dance coming across on the floor and also adding a bounce to the music you’ll enjoy when she’s in the booth!

Bryan Sykes

One thing you can count on from this DJ is a vast understanding of blues and jazz. Bryan's was head sound tech of Cincinnati's Blue Wisp Jazz Club; this helped shape his appreciation for quality music and audio. A regular DJ in Cincinnati and appearing at many swing and blues events such as: PittStop, SwingIN, and Summertime Blues, Bryan has worked hard to be able to read a dance floor and play just the right song at just the right time. Not afraid to slow things down he promises to play music that will move you emotionally, challenge you as a dancer, and make you want to dance! Bryan's music collection digs into obscure local artists and also contains the classics we all know and love. Bryan is excited to share his love for Blues music at this year's 10th anniversary of Dayton Swing Smackdown!

Aliceann Talley

Aliceann has been playing music since she was 6 and partner dancing since she was since she was 9. Swing and blues music speak to her both on and off the dance floor. Believing the music is what drives these dances, she continues to dive into the history of vintage jazz and blues and collect new music that inspires dancers to move.

Aliceann dances and DJs both in her home scene of Knoxville and at events across the Southeast and Midwest. Also in Knoxville, she coaches and choreographs for 2 dance teams, coordinates the blues scene, teaches and DJs for the Knoxville Swing Dance Association, and hosts other dance events around town.

Kemper Talley

Kemper favors music that has authentic, historic roots in the Swing Era. Outside of the Big Five (Artie, Benny, Count, Duke, and Webb), Kemper's current favorites are Mary Lou Williams, Earl Hines, Jimmie Lunceford, and Lionel Hampton. Outside of DJing, he leads the Jump Shop Sextet and enjoys teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Jazz.

Brent Watson

Brent has a “DJ Problem,” often taking over playlists at social gatherings. He is best known for inviting people to the dance floor by spinning tunes for all crowds, whether you want swing-out hard, or take it nice and easy. Blues or Lindy-hop, he’s not limited to one style, always playing the right tunes perfect for the moment! Expect to hear obscure tunes, and sprinkled with some of the ones you all know and love, leaning on that driving riffin’ sound. Most recently Brent DJ’d, Knoxville Lindy Exchange, CBUS9, and was ‘House DJ’ at Pirate Swing 2014. You will catch Brent most often in the Indianapolis/Lafayette area as well as other events around the Midwest (CinciLX, KissME, Dayton Swing Smackdown, Penguin Swing, Oberlin Jazz Dance festival, Chicago, and many more…). Before you know it his tunes have you dancing, laughing, and having a good time!