Hamburg Music Festival offers new bands, venues
“If music be the food of love, play on,” wrote Shakespeare. On Saturday, April 28, over 23 bands will play on through the day and well into the night at the fourth annual Hamburg Music Festival.
From noon until 1 a.m., festival goers will enjoy a variety of music throughout the town and village. The purchase of a $10 wristband will allow access into all venues. The cost translates to less than 43 cents per band.
“It’s one of the best parties in Western New York,” said Luke Mumbach, who co-founded the fundraising event with Mary Jo Duggan, Patrick McKee and Alison Pipitone. Four “music buses” will travel two separate routes to take those with wristbands to the venues outside of the village center.
This year will feature more venues, including Armor Inn Tap Room, BeHealthy Institute, Knights of Columbus and Whitey’s Pub, as well as talented new musicians, such as Anthony De Rosa, Kate & Corey and Lindsay Burgio.
“We put some very strong people in the coffee shops this year so we’re hoping that earlier on in the day people will be looking to hear some of that,” Pipitone said.
Also new this year are two bands from St. Francis High School. K-OS, which has been described as having a sound and performance similar to “Stomp!,” is a 20-piece all percussion band. It will play along with The Jazz Messengers from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. near Main and Buffalo streets.
“We expect to draw people from the St. Francis community that may have not participated in the event before,” McKee said.
For a more family-friendly atmosphere, people are encouraged to attend the student musician showcase at The Palace Theatre from noon to 5 p.m. The showcase lineup includes Dollar Diplomacy at 1 p.m., The Cuzes at 1:30 p.m., Peace Time Riot at 2 p.m., Brimstone Blondes at 2:30 p.m., Landslide at 3 p.m. and the Alison Pipitone Band from 4 to 5 p.m.
“The Palace is a great venue because we have Indigo Productions come and build the stage out, so its professionally done,” McKee said. “It’s really neat to see how it’s set up in there.”
Highlights in the evening include a performance from classic rock band Rough Draft at Hideaway’s Bar and Restaurant.
“They’re a five-piece band, they do really cool cover songs with a girl drummer and girl singer,” said Pipitone, adding that the band is bringing a lot of people into Hamburg from the Buffalo area. One of the main goals of the festival is to draw in outsiders to support local businesses.
Yet the Hamburg Music Festival is mainly a fundraising event, designed to raise money for student scholarships, guest artist contests, travel expenses for music-related trips and other worthy organizations, including Warm the Children, Hamburg Theatre Under the Stars, Hamburg Lacrosse and this year, Drop-In Nation.
“Drop-In Nation is an organization in Buffalo that is a GED program for people that have already dropped out of school,” Duggan said.
The non-profit organization will have a booth set up in the lobby of The Palace, where they will be selling raffle tickets for the chance to win seats for a Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake, as well as an autographed Buffalo Sabres hockey jersey.
Proceeds from the raffle will strictly benefit Drop-In Nation, while all wristband sales will continue to support the worthy programs that the Hamburg Music Festival has donated to in the past.
Hamburg High School graduate and Westminster Choir College freshman Natalie Stormer said that her scholarship from the Hamburg Music Festival has aided in her purchase of class textbooks and every day items.
“This scholarship was huge for me,” said Stormer, who wants to teach music in an urban setting after she graduates college.
Stormer said her studies at Westminster not only teach her the fundamentals of music, but lessons on discipline and perseverance that she applies to other aspects of her life.
“I’ve learned that why should I settle for anything less than the best I can do?,” she said.
For Sheila Connors, receiving a Hamburg Music Festival scholarship gave her the boost she needed to change her career and life path for the better. At 46, Connors returned to school to pursue a degree in music therapy. Yet since she already possessed a bachelor’s degree, Connors said she was not eligible for federal financial assistance.
“As an unmarried, single woman, this scholarship has been a godsend for me,” Connors said. She added she has been thoroughly enjoying her music therapy classes at Fredonia State College. “With each day that goes by, I tell myself that I am on the right path.”
Connors, who will sing back-up with the Alison Pipitone Band at the festival, stressed the importance of buying a wristband and supporting the arts.
“With more cuts in school and state budgets, it’s up to us to keep the arts flourishing,” she said. “Music and the arts are crucial to a person’s mindset and emotional state. The power that music has over us —I don’t think it’s to be taken lightly.”
This year, compliance officers will work in tandem with festival volunteers and Hamburg Police to make sure attendees are wearing wristbands and behaving appropriately.
Wristbands may be purchased pre-sale at any of the festival venues, as well as Meridia Credit Unions and Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. They will also be sold the night of the event at a booth in the village municipal parking lot.
McKee stressed that the festival would not be possible without its “phenomenal and generous sponsors” and the “tremendous cooperation” of the village for providing a safe, fun event.
“It’s a great value. There will be music for all tastes and all ages,” McKee said.
For more information, visit www.hamburgmusicfestival.com or search Hamburg Music Festival on Facebook. For a complete listing of the bands play, see “Southtowns Live” listings.