WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — Before shedding a tear over the demise of two Meadville-area concert events — one a decades-long country music tradition and the other a more recent effort combining bands and barbecue — music fans should give a listen to plans for something new coming to the Crawford County Fairgrounds.
There will be no Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 97 concert in March at Allegheny College’s Shafer Auditorium, nor will there be a BBQ and Music Festival at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex in June.
The folks behind both of those events are teaming with other organizations to put on a show they hope draws as many as 5,000 spectators to the grandstand at the fairgrounds.
If plans for the Roots and Brews Music Festival on June 6 sound a little ambitious, they should, according to Mark Weindorf, executive director of The Arc of Crawford County, another of the organizations involved.
“Well, we got a big act,” Weindorf said after presenting the concert plan to township supervisors Tuesday. “We're paying a lot of money, so let’s hope — let’s hope we can draw some people in.”
While Weindorf happily shared plans for the show, which will include sales of craft beer during the concert in an area adjacent to the grandstand, he declined to identify the act that is expected to provide such a draw.
“We have a national act,” Weindorf said, “but we can't release the name until March 1.”
The day-long event will feature three performances, with a local band opening, followed by a “support” national act and then the headliner, according to George Deshner, another of the organizers behind the event.
Plans for the event resulted from the merging of two events that were looking for new locations, according to Weindorf.
The BBQ and Music Festival “got too big and they wanted to move (to the fairgrounds), so we're joining forces with the MARC and with the FOP, who's no longer having their country show with the college.”
The three musical performances would likely run from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. with gates opening earlier in the day, Weindorf said, and would take place the same weekend as the annual Western Pennsylvania Riding and Driving Club show.
Permission to sell craft beer during the event is being negotiated as part of the lease agreement between Lodge 97, the MARC, The Arc and ONE Federal Credit Union and Crawford County, according to Weindorf and Crawford County Commissioner Francis Weiderspahn.
While commissioners opposed the idea of alcohol sales at the fairgrounds during the 2019 Crawford County Fair, they have been open to allowing such sales at other events held at the venue.
“We’re looking at it on an individual basis,” Weiderspahn said. “We’re not saying we’ll allow it every time somebody asks.”
Tickets for the event will likely range from $35 to $60, Weindorf said.
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.