Todd Wagner, chairman of the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, is delighted that Johnstown’s newest concert venue is emerging as a place people want to be.
A successful opening June 16 of Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St., only validates his confidence that the Oilhouse and its pavilion will attract concertgoers.
Wagner is advising people to arrive early when the Johnstown Area Heritage Association presents the second of its four summer concerts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the park, nestled along the Stonycreek River.
Gates open at 6:15 for the gut-busting soul, earthy rock and New Orleans-inspired beats of Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds and Ebensburg’s Ben Dumm & the Deviants, who will open the show.
“My expectations are high for this concert,” Wagner said. “Sister Sparrow was one of those groups who flew under the radar at the 2011 Music Festival, but was one of the biggest surprises at how well they were received by the crowds.”
It was about the same time that the group’s popularity exploded across the country.
“We are fortunate to have them again, but it goes with our intent to get the best talent at a reasonable price,” Wagner said.
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds is a nine-piece powerhouse band led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage.
The Dirty Birds are a flock of eight men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies.
Ben Dumm & the Deviants combine traditional 1950s rock ’n’ roll sounds with the energy and influence of punk rock.
Dumm, a 1992 graduate of Bishop Carroll Catholic High School, and his former band, The Mauraders, opened six concerts for Grammy Award-winning musician Brian Setzer.
Throughout the year, Dumm has shared the stage with a variety of musicians, from legendary punk bands like The Misfits and Agent Orange to highly respected musicians such as Deke Dickerson and Los Straightjackets.
“Our goal is to promote local artists when we can,” Wagner said. “When bringing in nationally known bands, it’s a good chance to feature local talent.”
Wagner said the concert series is an opportunity to think outside the box in an effort to attract visitors to downtown Johnstown.
“With the improvements to Route 22 and Route 219, it’s making access to downtown easier,” he said. “We want to make Johnstown a destination where people can enjoy quality entertainment, park free and get something to eat.
Johnstown’s Stone Bridge will be illuminated the entire evening with light shows and schemes that will change on the hour.
“With the two elements of sight and sound coming together, the various colors on the Stone Bridge offer a beautiful backdrop that enhances the experience,” Wagner said.
Beer and hard lemonade will be available for purchase.
Advance tickets for the event may be purchased for $15 at ShowClix by calling (888) 718-4253; online at floodcitymusic.com; at the Heritage Discovery Center, 201 Sixth Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johns-town; or at the door.
Price at the gate is $22. Handling fees apply.
If you go ...
Who: Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds with Ben Dumm & the Deviants.
What: Johnstown Area Heritage Association’s summer concert series.
Where: Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St., Johnstown.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, gates open at 6:15.
Tickets: Call (888) 718-4253; online at floodcitymusic.com; at the Heritage Discovery Center, 201 Sixth Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown; or at the door.
Cost: $15 plus handling fee; $22 at the door.