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Arts Festival Weekend 2012 Is Here!

July 13, 2012 - Jim Price
Another highlight of summers in this part of the world has arrived. Arts Festival weekend is upon us.

State College’s 46th annual Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts began on Wednesday and continues through Sunday. As always, this festival will again feature a wide slate of art displays, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, and a multitude of musical performances. Admission is free; to avoid parking hassles, park in the lots near Beaver Stadium ($5 parking fee) and ride the shuttle buses downtown (or if you like the cardiovascular exercise and the sun’s heat isn’t too oppressive, walk – it’s about a 25-minute walk from the stadium parking lots to the festival).

Among Friday’s highlights at this year’s Festival will be the swan song performance of longtime Happy Valley favorites Cartoon on Friday evening at Schwab Auditorium; the group has announced their retirement after this show. Also anticipated is the CD-release party of prolific State College singer/songwriter (and Altoona native) Ted McCloskey, who will officially issue his sixth studio album, “The Last of the Pin-Up Girls,” during his performance with his band, the Hi Fi’s, beginning Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the Allen Street Stage. Also on Friday, Carlisle-based blues/funk-rocker Gary Brown and his band Bushmaster return to the Festival Shell stage (in front of Old Main on the Penn State campus) starting at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday will feature the return of several past Festival favorites; such as Eric Himan and Deirdre Flint on the Allen Street Stage, and New Jersey blues/soul group the Christopher Dean Band on the Friedman Park stage. Pittsburgh’s J.D. Eicher & the Goodnights, who Altoona fans may have witnessed during May’s Blair County Arts Festival, will perform Saturday at 8 p.m. on the Allen Street Stage. And renowned western New York roots rockers Big Leg Emma will perform on the Festival Shell stage Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.

And although the Festival winds down on Sunday, there are still some noteworthy performances to enjoy on Sunday afternoon. If you like irresistible, sweet vocal harmonies, State College favorites Pure Cane Sugar will deliver such harmonies in abundance when their set starts at 2:30 p.m. on the Allen Street Stage. And as always, Happy Valley reggae favorites The Earthtones will help close out the Festival with their worldbeat party starting at 3:30 p.m. on the Festival Shell stage. Expect a large dance/groove party to erupt on the lawn in front of the stage as the Earthtones’ performance kicks in.

Also happening through Sunday is the 20th annual People’s Choice Festival in Boalsburg. Selinsgrove-based former national recording group The Badlees performed on Thursday night. Friday’s headliner will be country artists David Zentner and his band Country Tradition starting at 5 p.m. Vintage rock and roll will take the People’s Choice spotlight on Saturday and Sunday; with Bill Haley’s Comets on Saturday evening and Elvis Presley impersonator Brad Crum on Sunday afternoon. The People’s Choice Festival will also feature arts and crafts from multiple local and regional artists, kids’ activities, a food court and more. Admission to the festival is free; there is a $5 parking fee.

For bluegrass fans, Rhonda Vincent headlines the annual Southern Cove Bluegrass Festival, happening Saturday and Sunday at the Southern Cove Power Reunion Grounds in New Enterprise. The award-winning singer, songwriter and instrumentalist will take the stage with her band The Rage on Sunday afternoon with shows at 2 and 6 p.m. Tennessee’s Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will headline Saturday’s bluegrass festivities at 2 and 8 p.m. Other performers at this year’s festival include local favorites The Blue Shades, Mountain Therapy, Big Country Bluegrass, Lonesome Highway, Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie, and Little Roy & Lizzy. Music begins at 11 a.m. both days.

Altoona’s Railroaders Museum rocks this Saturday evening with Massachusetts-based Rush tribute band Lotus Land plus local favorites Half Tempted, in the latest installment of the Alive @ 5 Summer Concert Series. The music will start at 6 p.m. with Half Tempted, doing their mixture of classic and hard rock favorites; and although Rush’s “Working Man” is often a part of their performance, I get the feeling Half Tempted may leave that song in the closet for this night. Lotus Land – singer/bassist Chris Nelson, guitarist Bob Chartrand and drummer Mark Dalton – will celebrate the legendary Canadian power trio with songs from throughout the group’s career; including popular Rush radio songs like “Tom Sawyer” and “Spirit of Radio,” along with lengthier epics like “By-Tor and the Snow Dog,” “La Villa Strangiato” and more. Tickets for the concert are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate.

Here is a full listing for live music on area stages this weekend and the coming week:


Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, State College:

Allen Street Stage: Smash The Windows (12 noon), Tarnished 6 (2 p.m.), The New Students (4 p.m.), Ted McCloskey & the Hi Fis (6 p.m.), The Ultra Kings (8 p.m.), The Nightcrawlers (10 p.m.)

Festival Shell Stage: Andrew Jackson Jazz Ensemble (1:30 p.m.), Out Of The Blue (3:30 p.m.), Callanish (5:30 p.m.), Bushmaster (7:30 p.m.), The Velveteen Playboys (10 p.m.)

Friedman Park Stage: Pepper Lotus Tribal (3:30 p.m.), Joe Baione (5:30 p.m.), Mark DeRose & The Way Home (8 p.m.), J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices (10 p.m.)

Municipal Plaza Stage: Jim Colbert (2:30 p.m.), Scott Mangene (4:30 p.m.), Below Centre (5:30 p.m.)

Schwab Auditorium: Cartoon (7:30 p.m.)

People’s Choice Festival, Boalsburg:

North Stage: Heritage Brass (11:30 a.m.), Summer Rock Camp with Matt Price and Jeff Gible (1 p.m.), Nittany Knights Barbershop Chorus (2:30 p.m.), Tussey Mountain Moonshiners (4 p.m.), Your Dad’s Friends (6 p.m.)

South Stage: Black Coffee (11:30 a.m.), JR & Sharon Band (1 p.m.), Puffer Fish (2:30 p.m.), David Zentner & Country Tradition (5 p.m.)


Randy Jackson and Steve Johnopolos at Raphael’s Steakhouse, Altoona (starts 6:30 p.m.)

Bodacious B at Zach’s, Altoona

Sheldon Port at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Felix & the Hurricanes at the Buccinese Club, Altoona

A.X.E. at Eldolyn Terrace, Altoona

The Conniptions at the Bavarian Hall, Altoona (starts 7:30 p.m.)

Mama Corn at Mugshotz, Gallitzin (starts 9:30 p.m.)

Locked and Loaded at Clair’s Ashville Inn, Ashville

Friction at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg


Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, State College:

Allen Street Stage: Rustical Quality String Band (12 noon), Eric Himan (2 p.m.), Bookends (4 p.m.), Deirdre Flint (6 p.m.), J.D. Eicher & the Goodnights (8 p.m.), Shake Shake Shake (10 p.m.)

Festival Shell Stage: State College Area Municipal Band (11:30 a.m.), Burgess, Mitchell & Seal (1:30 p.m.), The Swingin’ Swamis (3:30 p.m.), Zeropoint Big Band (5:30 p.m.), Big Leg Emma (7:30 p.m.), Velveeta (10 p.m.)

Friedman Park Stage: Bollywood (3:30 p.m.), The Pennharmonics (5:30 p.m.), Lucy Stone (7:30 p.m.), Christopher Dean Band (9:30 p.m.)

Municipal Plaza Stage: Jim Colbert (4:30 p.m.), Scott Mangene (5 p.m.), Brad Fey (7 p.m.)

People’s Choice Festival, Boalsburg:

North Stage: Voxology (12 noon), Black Cat Belly Dance & Friends (1:30 p.m.), Dan & Galla (3 p.m.), Pure Cane Sugar (4:30 p.m.)

South Stage: Andy Angel Quartet (12:30 p.m.), Deacons of Dixieland (2 p.m.), Singer-Songwriter KJ (3:30 p.m.), Bill Haley’s Comets (6 p.m.)

Southern Cove Bluegrass Festival, Southern Cove Power Reunion Grounds, New Enterprise; featuring Mountain Therapy, Big Country Bluegrass, Lonesome Highway, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Blue Shades and Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie (music starts 11 a.m.; tickets $18/advance, $20/gate)

Limb By Limb 5th Anniversary Party at Cassville Sportsmen’s Club, Cassville; featuring Pennsylvania Mike and The Bedlam Boys, Matthew "Mule" Mckinley, Limb By Limb, Decaysia, Assault Method, Twisted and Used and Apocryfiend (starts 3 p.m., $10 admission)

Wyld Syde at Conemaugh Township Wing Blast, Greenhouse Park, Johnstown (starts 5 p.m.)


Lotus Land (Rush tribute) and Half Tempted at Railroaders Museum, Altoona (starts 6 p.m.)

Randy Jackson and Steve Johnopolos at Raphael’s Steakhouse, Altoona (starts 6:30 p.m.)

Shallow9 at Cesare Battisti Club (Jack's Grub Shack), Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

Lucky You at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

SilverTung and Rain Must Fall at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Hair Force One at 30 Something, Altoona

Blu Voodoo at Aldo’s, Altoona

The House Band at the Cantina, Altoona

Acoustic Mayhem at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

One Brick Shy at Eldolyn Terrace, Altoona

Conner Gilbert at Zach’s, Altoona

Tom “Ying” Yannitelli at Madhatters, St. Boniface

Forever On Holiday at Park Avenue Pub, Patton

Giants of Science at Yesterday’s Party, Ebensburg

A.X.E. at Castle Pub, Ebensburg

Toast at Jay’s Place, Ebensburg

Fuse at Our Place Pizza & Pub, Colver

Simple Mary at City Hotel, Northern Cambria


Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, State College:

Allen Street Stage: Tussey Mountain Moonshiners (12:30 p.m.), Pure Cane Sugar (2:30 p.m.), Matt Cermanski Band (4:30 p.m.)

Festival Shell Stage: J.T. & the Denicats (1:30 p.m.), The Earthtones (3:30 p.m.)

Friedman Park Stage: Bellefonte Community Band (1:30 p.m.)

People’s Choice Festival, Boalsburg:

North Stage: Tree the Band (12 noon), Keystone Society of Swing (2:30 p.m.)

South Stage: Altoona Chorus of Sweet Adelines (11:30 a.m.), Elvis Impersonator Brad Crum (1:30 p.m.)

Southern Cove Bluegrass Festival, Southern Cove Power Reunion Grounds, New Enterprise; featuring Little Roy & Lizzy, Lonesome Highway, Blue Shades, Rhonda Vincent (music starts 11 a.m.; tickets $20/advance, $25/gate)

The Country Travelers at Canoe Creek State Park (beach concession area, starts 2 p.m.)

Bodacious B at Alley Popper, Houtzdale (starts 3 p.m.)

Andy Rhody at Madhatters, St. Boniface (4-7 p.m.)

The House Band at Swiss Rifle Club, Altoona (after-party for Mya’s Miracle Autism motorcycle run; music starts around 4 p.m.)


Last Stand at Marzoni’s, Duncansville (5-8 p.m.)

EVK, Angel Eye of Deception, GG and the Assassins, The Hawks Blues Band at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (all ages, starts 5:30 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona


“Blue Monday” with Tom McCarty & Mountain City Grass at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Altoona (starts 6 p.m.)


Felix & the Hurricanes at Cesare Battisti Club (Jack’s Grub Shack), Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

7th Gear at 4D’s Lounge (upstairs), Altoona

Dale Nitti at Thirsty Dawg Taverne, Patton (starts 9 p.m.)

Open Mic Night at Mugshotz, Gallitzin (starts 8 p.m.)

Open Mic/Jam Night at City Hotel, Northern Cambria (starts 8 p.m.)

Open Mic/Jam Night at Pellegrine’s, Altoona (starts 9 p.m.)


Flight 19 at Downtown Live, Hollidaysburg (all ages, starts 6 p.m., free admission)

Half Tempted at PA American Legion 21st District Wing Festival, Legion Park, Hollidaysburg (starts 5 p.m., free admission)

Mama Corn at WingOff, Lakemont Park, Altoona (starts 6 p.m., $5 park admission)

Lowjack and Your Dad’s Friends at WingFest, Tussey Mountain Ski Resort, Boalsburg (starts 6 p.m.)

Steve Summerhill at Jethro’s, Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

Triple Threat at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

(More shows may be added to this list as information becomes available. Feel free to check back.)

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Ted McCloskey performing with his band the Hi Fi's during last year's Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts in State College. Celebrating the release of his sixth CD, McCloskey and the Hi Fi's perform at this year's Festival starting at 6 p.m. Friday evening.


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