By Terry Baylor
For The Daily Item
— WILLIAMSPORT — Eight bands will take the big stage during the second Downtown Billtown Music Festival, an indoor music festival organized by The Billtown Blues Association (BBA), this Saturday at the Community Arts Center.
Doors open at 3 p.m.; the event begins at 4 p.m.
The event began in 2009 following the death of BBA member and avid music lover Susan Bacchieri. According to Bonnie Tallman, association secretary, BBA members united and organized a benefit concert shining the spotlight on local bands to raise money for Bacchieri’s family.
Afterward, the BBA members decided to do something like it again and approached Rob Steele, executive director of the CAC, for help in finding a venue. They left the meeting with not only a venue, but a partner.
In 2012, the first Downtown Billtown Music Festival took place.
Given the wealth of talent in this area, the festival is a great opportunity for these musicians to get up on the big stage and be heard. “It’s all about the musicians,” said Tallman.
The music will range from gospel to outlaw country to blues and rock. Each band will play a 40-minute set.
Kicking off the show at 4 p.m. is JR Scott, a member of the ’70s rock band Harpoon and Jab who then later set off to perform solo. His repertoire consists of a mix of covers and original tunes, peppered with historical events.
Next up is Urban Souls, a Motown tribute band from the Uptown Music Collective. The average age of the band members is 11. They are committed to music with soul, rhythm and blues, having spent the last year performing three-part harmonies and featuring strong lead vocals that really pack a punch. Dedicated to music, these kids are amazing — prepare to be blown away.
Kim Adair and Soulful will be on stage at 5:40 p.m. Adair has been singing soul and gospel since she was 5 and now teaches music at the Uptown Music Collective as well as performing across the country. She has a CD out called “Voice of My Soul.” For more information visit www.meant2brecords.com.
The blues de jour is Dirty MoJo, performing at 6:30 p.m. Frontman is Shawn “Dirty” Strickland on vocals and harmonica while on guitar is Gary “Daddy Mojo” Strickland, Shawn’s father, and Tom Rhodes and Mark Peterson complete the band. These guys put out a really good down and dirty kind of blues — Dirty has mojo.
The Frank Wicher Band, one of the area’s best and well-known outlaw country bands, will take the stage at 7:20 p.m. Wicher is a singer/songwriter from Northumberland. His website is www.frankwicher.com.
From 8:10-8:50 p.m., Rubber Soul will entertain. Rubber Soul was a central Pennsylvania Beatles tribute band which played for more than 12 years before retiring in 2008. When asked to do this show, they jumped at the chance to reunite, albeit with a few cast changes. For this show its members will be talented and seasoned musicians Joel B. Vincent, Colin Beatty, Bob Yoas and Dave Brumbaugh. They are all friends and love playing together.
Clyde Frog goes on at 9 p.m. This band offers a nice mix. They write a lot of their own songs; Tess Marshall is a strong female vocalist who brings a twist to the rock feel. They performed 30 shows this summer alone and are excited to be part of this music festival. This high-energy band often collaborates with the Uptown Music Collective. Its members are past students of the school so there’s a life-long connection there.
Audiobox will finish up the festival with its hard rock set. These guys are hard-core. They play all over the area and are well known for their talented performances. This band has a long list of original songs they play along with a mix of alternative rock from the ’80s and ’90s they love to cover.
New to the event this year will be food and beverages catered in the lobby for the convenience of all patrons with prices starting at just $1 for hot dogs and adult beverages, courtesy of Durdach Brothers and The Country Store.