The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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August 3, 2013

Nonstop sound: Festival’s four stages fill the air with music

JOHNSTOWN — Those headed to the 24th annual AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival on Saturday looking for quality and quantity did not go home disappointed.

Rains overnight Friday left things a little wet, but by noon a warm breeze was moving through and the off-and-on sunshine with moderate temperatures set the stage for a pleasant afternoon and evening.

“Things were a little wet when we got here, but we’re doing great,” said Betty Jo Shaw, who was heading the crew working the food tent for the Oakwood Restaurant of Davidsville.

“Business Friday was fantastic and business will pick up toward evening,” Shaw said.

As Shaw spoke, a co-worker threw bacon on the grill.

“They smell the bacon and that always brings them in,” said the unidentified grill cook.

Saturday’s entertainment was nonstop at the festival’s four stages stretched through the Peoples Natural Gas Park.

From brass rock, soul and funk to bluegrass, the bands from along the Eastern Seaboard and stretching cross-county to San Francisco belted out hip-swinging, toe-tapping music from shortly after noon until well into the night.

Kathleen and Steven Bickford of Ebensburg and their children, ages 3 and 5, showed up early and planned to stay late, at least as late as the children held out.

“We’ll stay until they start to break down,” Steven Bickford said as his family sat at a table eating french fries.

“They like the bands, so that helps,” added his wife.

For the Bickfords, who attend the music festival every year, the bluegrass bands are a favorite.

Dan and Fran Bogey of Bells Landing, Clearfield County, said the diversity of the music has brought them back every year since the first one more than two decades ago.

Dan Bogey, the librarian at the Clearfield County Library, with long, gray-brown hair traveling down his back, wore a T-shirt that said it all. He and his wife attended the festival in the past to see Derek Truck’s Band, and they did nothing to hide how much they were enjoying the jam band 600 Lbs. of Sin.

“I like the variety of the bands,” he shouted over the music. “It all started as folk music, but my favorite is the blues.”

The popularity of the festival continues to grow, with many attending wearing T-shirts from festivals of past years, an illustration that it has a loyal base of followers, said Shelley Johansson, Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s director of communications and marketing.

“For those out of town, our festival is easy to get to, parking is relatively easy and it’s easy to get around,” she said.

“We have a very happy and enthusiastic crowd. People seem to be enjoying themselves.”

Attendance today, the last day of the three-day festival, is expected to be good with a weather forecast of partly sunny and breezy with a high of 68, said AccuWeather meteorologist Mike Pigott.

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