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Musical Fireworks for Your Fourth!

June 29, 2012 - Jim Price
The outdoor live music season is now in full swing, and the July 4th holiday provides the setting for a number of special concerts and events during the next week.

State College features two special live music-related outdoor events. On Saturday, the annual Summer’s Best Music Fest will feature live music on three stages spaced through downtown State College, spanning a wide variety of musical flavors. Happy Valley favorites such as the Triple A Blues Band, The Nightcrawlers, Spider Kelly, The Insomniacs and Ted McCloskey & the Hi Fis will all perform. Country, bluegrass and Americana flavors will be presented by such artists as Huntingdon’s Chris Woodward & Shindiggin,’ Tyne & the Fastlyne (featuring Morrison’s Cove native Tyne Palazzi), the Tussey Mountain Moonshiners and Erin Condo & the Hoofties. Get there early to see Zupe open things at 10:30 a.m., and see former Altoona-based musician Harold Taddy and his duo perform as well.

Four days later, live music will again sound throughout State College during the annual Central Pennsylvania Fourth Fest celebration. Fourth Fest will feature three venues/stages with live music starting at 2 p.m., again representing a variety of musical flavors. There will be numerous other activities, including the Firecracker 4K race (which starts at 9 a.m.), a B-25 flyover, children’s games and activities, food and refreshments, and fireworks starting at 10 p.m. General admission to Fourth Fest is free, although a $10 per car parking donation will be requested.

Several outdoor events featuring live music will happen in the Altoona area as well. On Saturday, the Baltimore Life Companies will present the first annual 764 Plaza Block Party from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 764 Plaza (near Blue Knob Auto Sales). The event will feature live music from Rain Must Fall and the Backyard Rockers. Several community nonprofit organizations will have display tables set up. Chicken barbecue dinners will be sold for $9 each, with proceeds helping Boy Scout Troop 29 of Bellwood with their Eagle Scout project. And nonprofit traveling softball team the Claysburg Krush will be selling hot dogs and sauerkraut. Admission to the Block Party is free.

Saturday evening, live music returns to Altoona’s Railroaders Museum, as California-based Doors tribute Peace Frog and Felix & the Hurricanes will entertain beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10/advance, or $15/gate.

Sunday afternoon, the Blair County Community Action Agency presents their annual July 4th concert event. Their “Red, White and Blue” Picnic on the Plaza will begin at 2 p.m. at downtown Altoona’s Heritage Plaza, and feature performances from the Fabulous Flashbacks, Big Mac & the Fries and The Front. Admission is free, and food and refreshments will be available.

And Tuesday night, the third annual Ballpark Block Party will take place at People’s Natural Gas Field starting at 5 p.m. Providing the live music at this year’s Block Party will be Jerry Carnicella with his White Shadow/Beatlemaniacs show, Shallow9, The Good Seeds and Pistol Peg & the Beer Kegs. There will also be various games, children’s activities, food, refreshments and fireworks. Admission is $6 for adults, and $4 for children ages 12 and under.

Speaking of Jerry Carnicella…Jerry presents a benefit concert and party for the Patton Library on Wednesday the 4th at the Main Beach area of Prince Gallitzin State Park. Admission is free, but donations will be collected throughout the day to benefit the library. The festivities will kick off at 1 p.m., and feature performances from Jerry and his Elvis Lives tribute to Elvis Presley, the Beatlemaniacs, Andy Rhody and White Shadow. Food and refreshments will be available.

And some area fire company carnival events happen this week as well. The Beaverdale Fire Company will present their annual Beaverfest this weekend in Beaverdale, with various activities and live musical entertainment. Johnstown’s Ribbon Grass Acoustic Group will entertain on Saturday night, while Cambria County classic rock/oldies group Hot Wax provides the entertainment on Sunday night.

And the week of July 4th always marks the Cresson Firemen’s annual Carnival, happening near the firehall in downtown Cresson. The festivities kick off Monday evening and continue through Saturday, with live music every night starting at 7. The Mario Crocetti Trio entertains Monday night with a variety of standards and polkas. Felix & the Hurricanes perform on Tuesday, Full Kilt on Wednesday, Raging Slagg on Thursday, New Pastime Band on Friday, and Band Of Gold on Saturday. There will also be carnival rides, food and refreshments, and admission is free.

Needless to say, there is a lot to see and do in the coming week if you are a music fan. So pick some shows, and show your support for live music!

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


The Country Gentlemen at Claysburg Community Park, Claysburg (starts 7 p.m., free admission)

Rain Must Fall and Saving Jake At Aldo’s, Altoona

Rock and Roll Gypsies at Newburg Firehall, Altoona

Sheldon Port at Zach’s, Altoona

Phil McCaulley Elvis Tribute at Unter Uns, Altoona

The Backyard Rockers at Thirsty Dawg Taverne, Patton (starts 9:30 p.m.)

Allegory at City Hotel, Northern Cambria

A.X.E. at County Line Inn, Mount Union


Summer’s Best Music Fest, downtown State College; featuring Chris Woodward & Shindiggin,’ Triple A Blues Band, Tyne & the Fastlyne, Archie Blue, Zupe, Tussey Mountain Moonshiners, Erin Condo & the Hoofties, Harold Taddy Duo, Biscuit Jam, Chad & John, The Nightcrawlers, The Insomniacs, Spider Kelly, Ted McCloskey & the Hi Fis (starts 10 a.m., free admission)

764 Plaza Block Party at 764 Plaza, Duncansville; featuring Rain Must Fall and the Backyard Rockers (starts 11 a.m., admission free)


Peace Frog (Doors tribute) and Felix & the Hurricanes at Railroaders Museum, Altoona (starts 6 p.m.)

Ribbon Grass at Beaverfest, Beaverdale Fire Company, Beaverdale (all ages, starts 8 p.m., free admission)

Screamin’ Ugly at 30 Something, Altoona

Giants of Science at 4D’s Lounge, Altoona

Felix & the Hurricanes at Family Pizza, Altoona (starts 9:30 p.m.)

Rapid Fire at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

A.X.E. at Eldolyn Terrace, Altoona

Without Zerb at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

Cousin Mike at Zach’s, Altoona

Born & the Beanstalk at Buccinese Society, Altoona

The House Band at the Heidelberg Club, Altoona

Cottonmouth at Bellwood Eagles, Bellwood

Todd Snider at State Theatre, State College (starts 8 p.m.)

Fuse at the Castle Pub, Ebensburg

Juke Left at Jay’s Place, Ebensburg

Mr. Jones & Me at City Hotel, Northern Cambria


Picnic on the Plaza at Heritage Plaza, Altoona; featuring the Fabulous Flashbacks, Big Mac & the Fries and The Front (starts 2 p.m., free admission)

Joan & John at Madhatters, St. Boniface (4-7 p.m.)


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

Hot Wax at Beaverfest, Beaverdale Fire Company, Beaverdale (all-ages, starts 7 p.m., free admission)

Felix & the Hurricanes at Shaw’s Bar, Altoona


Mario Crocetti Trio at Cresson Firemen’s Carnival, Cresson (starts 7 p.m.)


Ballpark Block Party at People’s Natural Gas Field, featuring White Shadow, Shallow9, The Good Seeds and Pistol Peg & the Beer Kegs (starts 5 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes at the Cresson Firemen’s Carnival, Cresson (starts 7 p.m.)

One Brick Shy at Morrison’s Cove Memorial Park, Martinsburg (all ages, starts 7 p.m.)

kBand at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Sheldon Port (5 p.m.) and Half Tempted (10 p.m.) at the Belmar Hotel, Altoona

3 Beatlemaniacs with guest Andy Rhody at Thirsty Dawg Taverne, Patton

Bad Daze at Osceola Hotel, Osceola Mills


Central Pennsylvania Fourth Fest, State College; featuring The Long Afternoon, Jason Dumm, Seven2Ten, The Sveltones, A Day Awaits, Taylor Made, Jason Davoli, CHoSen, Rick Hirsch & Freedom Jazz, Hounds of Soul, Riley Roth, Chris Good, OverheaD, Black Coffee, Bob Timney, Pure Cane Sugar, Biscuit Jam, AC Express, ESP, Tommy Wareham, Chris Vipond & the Stanley Street Band and more (starts 2 p.m., free admission)

Patton Library Benefit Concert at Main Beach, Prince Gallitzin State Park; featuring Elvis Lives, Andy Rhody, Beatlemaniacs, White Shadow and more (starts 12 noon)


Your Dad’s Friends at Lakemont Park, Altoona (starts 7 p.m.)

Full Kilt at Cresson Firemen’s Carnival, Cresson (starts 7 p.m.)

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

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


Raging Slagg at Cresson Firemen’s Carnival, Cresson (starts 7 p.m.)

Felix & the Hurricanes (with Dave Villani) at Pellegrine’s, Altoona

Brendon and Michelle (of 7th Gear) at Belmar Hotel, Altoona

Tom “Ying” Yannitelli at Thirsty Dawg Taverne, Patton

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

To report additional shows or corrections to this listing, email information to

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Blog Photos

Legendary Altoona band favorites The Front, entertaining during the 2010 Picnic in the Plaza at downtown Altoona's Heritage Plaza. The Front will reunite to perform at this year's Picnic in the Plaza this Sunday.


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