Melissa Myers moved to the area a few months ago in search of a new beginning. The Ohio native said she enjoys good music and seeing large groups of people come together, which is what led her to attend the AmeriServ Flood City Music Fest in downtown Johnstown on Friday.
“When I first moved here, a few people had told me there wasn’t much to do here, especially on the social scene, but every time I look for something to do I end up having a good time. Unexpectedly, I guess,” Myers said.
Myers was one of the many people in attendance at Friday evening’s musical headline performance by Cowboy Mouth.
Cloudy skies and rain showers teased the area throughout the day, but cleared in time for the night’s event.
“This is great,” Myers said.
“What I love about music is the fact that it brings everybody together. Even with the so-so weather, there’s still a nice crowd of people who just want to have a good time.”
Friday’s lineup featured Elias Khouri, Jeff Perigo & Friends, Adler & Barath Blues Band, Davina & the Vagabonds, Ghost Light, Red Baraat, Brownout, and headliner Cowboy Mouth.
“I’ve never heard of any of these bands, honestly,” Myers said, “but good music is good music, and that’s what I’m hearing tonight.
“I’m having a real good time.”
Johnstown resident Terry Johnson could also be seen having a good time. Johnson hasn’t missed the music festival in more than ten years, and says it’s the music and the people that keep pulling him in each year.
“This is my favorite event of the year,” Johnson said. “It’s live music. How could you not appreciate that?”
Johnson said acts such as Grace Potter, Blues Traveler, Trombone Shorty, and Sugar Ray have helped to set the bar for the music event in recent years, but it’s truly the support of the local residents that keep this annual event alive.
“If you support the town, we can keep having events like this,” Johnson said. “You support it, it will stay.”
Fred LeBlanc, lead vocalist and drummer for Cowboy Mouth, caught up with The Tribune-Democrat shortly before he and fellow band members Matt Jones, Brian Broussard and John Griffith were scheduled to perform Friday night on the main stage in People’s Natural Gas Park.
LeBlanc said he was eager to hit the stage and give those in attendance a memorable experience.
“A Cowboy Mouth show is all about just letting go,” LeBlanc said. “I had a fan recently come up to me and say ‘Man, I love you guys. You guys are like a gospel tent revival without the religion.’ And I always liked that.
“So just come to the show, because it’s hard not to like us.”
As children could be seen running through the venue’s lawn with neon glow sticks, and the aroma from several local food vendors filled the evening’s air, the annual music festival - now in its 25th year - appeared to be a success.
“What a wonderful first day at the festival,” said Shelley Johansson, director of marketing and communications for Johnstown Area Heritage Association, which organizes the annual event. “I think the music has been amazing.
“The overall reaction to Davina and the Vagabonds – I think that everybody that was there knew they were seeing something special. I could see it in their eyes and in their actions,” she said. “What an engaged audience.
“The weather this afternoon was a little bit less than favorable, but it straightened out beautifully and it is a beautiful night at People’s Natural Gas Park.”
The music festival will continue on Saturday at People’s Natural Gas Park, with alternative rock band Gin Blossoms scheduled to headline the event at 9:30 p.m. on the main stage.
“Tomorrow we have another full day of wonderful music,” Johansson said. “I’m so excited to be at this point. It’s always a tremendous effort on behalf of the staff and the volunteers and everyone that works on this festival to get it off the ground.
“Saturday will be another great day, filled with great music.”
The lineup Saturday
• Jeff Webb & the Delectable Sound, 2 p.m., Oilhouse.
• Essential Machine, 5:30 p.m., Oilhouse.
• The Plate Scrapers, 9:30 p.m., Oilhouse.
• Sue Foley Band, 3:30 p.m., Polacek Pavilion.
• National Park Radio, 7:30 p.m., Polacek Pavilion.
• Afro n’At, 11 p.m., Polacek Pavilion.
• Bill Kirchen, 1:30 p.m., main stage.
• Dale Watson, 5:30 p.m., main stage.
• Gin Blossoms, 9:30 p.m., main stage.
To purchase tickets to the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival:
• Visit the official website, www.floodcitymusic.com.
• Visit any Ticketmaster outlet, or www.ticketmaster.com.
• Tickets will also be available for walk-up purchase at Peoples Natural Gas Park gate during the festival.
• Price: Saturday only – $35.