The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

August 2, 2013

Don't miss a beat | Make plans to attend music festival

JOHNSTOWN — Open earlier, listen longer.

That’s the approach that the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival is taking for the three-day event, which begins at 2 this afternoon at Peoples Natural Gas Park in downtown Johnstown.

The festival’s chairman, Todd Wagner, said that six additional slots have been added to today’s schedule, and the gates open at 1 p.m.

“Friday will be a full festival day,” he told reporter Ruth Rice. “We’re learning what works, and this is a monumental shift to increase events on Friday.”

So go ahead, start the weekend early. We won’t tell your boss.

The idea to start the festival earlier actually makes great sense, in that it can attract out-of-town people to get into Johnstown on Thursday night. With more than a dozen acts on four stages spread out over

11 hours today – ranging from Johnstown blues band Black Cat Moan to the funk and soul sounds of the New York Funk Exchange – we can see why people would want to get there early.

Friday is funk day with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and Funk Art among the other headliners. Kenny Neal’s swamp blues music will give concertgoers a bit of variety.

Saturday’s lineup is even more diverse, with country, bluegrass and rock acts hitting the stages and playing even longer. The blues band The Pawnbrokers kick things off at 1 p.m. and the ever-popular Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds will close the place down, playing until 1 a.m.

“They’re a brother and sister and tore it up when they played here,” Wagner said of Sister Sparrow, which appeared at the festival in 2011 and returned for a summer concert at Peoples Natural Gas Park last year. “They’re playing two days because they were a great favorite. We’re thrilled to have them back.”

The Americana sounds of the Kalob Griffin Band will be on one stage while Bonerama’s brass rock is on another. Robert Randolph and the Family Band’s funk and soul should prove popular.

“He’s more of a household name,” Wagner said of Randolph. “They’re a jam band and have been a festival favorite for years.”

Wagner also listened to festivalgoers who told him they would like to see the show wrap up a bit earlier on Sunday. The show will “get intimate” for the final day, as Wagner told Rice, by collapsing the large stage but maintaining the other three stages.

The action kicks off at 2 with the country sounds of The Beagle Brothers and will go until 10 p.m., wrapping up with Greensky Bluegrass. In between, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds will make another appearance while Sol Driv-en Train, a pop/folk/funk band, is the night’s other headliner.

Pardon the pun, but that sounds like a jam-packed weekend to us. We encourage music lovers of all ages to head out to the park and enjoy what has become one of Johnstown’s signature events.

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