Blues Traveler coming to Johnstown
BY KAYLA PONGRAC
Our Town Correspondent
Here’s an early Christmas gift for Blues Traveler fans: next summer, the band will headline Johnstown’s AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival.
“We’re really excited about bringing Blues Traveler to Johnstown,” said Festival Chairman Terry Deitz. “They’re a mainstream band, and people know their name and enjoy their music. They appeal to a wide variety of age groups and listeners because they’re a rock band and a jam band. They fit really well into our festival, which is designed to appeal to fans who appreciate different genres of music.”
The 2018 AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival is scheduled to take place Aug. 3 and 4 inside Peoples Natural Gas Park in downtown Johnstown.
This will be Blues Traveler’s first appearance at the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, Deitz said. To his knowledge, the last time the band appeared in Johnstown was several years ago when they performed on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus.
Blues Traveler features John Popper on lead vocals and harmonica; Chan Kinchla on guitar; Tad Kinchla on bass; Brendan Hill on drums and Ben Wilson on keys. Since their formation in 1987, the band has released a total of 12 studio albums. Of those dozen, four were certified gold, three platinum and one six-times platinum.
The band’s biggest hits include “But Anyway,” “Hook” and “Run-Around.” The latter won them a Grammy in 1995 for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Deitz said the response to Blues Traveler’s headlining announcement has been great so far.
“I think everybody enjoyed this year’s festival so much, and they’re already looking forward to next year,” he said. “The comments we’ve gotten on social media have been positive, and the phone calls to the radio stations have also been positive. It’s going to be another great festival.”
Blues Traveler’s most recent album, 2015’s “Blow Up the Moon,” features guest musicians/bands on every track. Some of those artists include Hanson, Jewel and Plain White T’s.
“Blues Traveler is an act that just gets better and better,” Deitz said. “And they tour tirelessly.”
Other artists who have been confirmed as part of the 2018 festival line-up include: Pittsburgh-band country Hillbilly Way; bluegrass band The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers and multi-genre band Neon Swing X-perience.
“Our festival is all about exposing people to music they may not have otherwise been exposed to, and we really work hard to get a nice variety of acts so there is something for everybody,” Deitz said.
AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival is presented in collaboration by AmeriServ Bank, Johnstown Area Heritage Association (JAHA) and SMG Worldwide Entertainment and Convention Venue Management (SMG).
“We couldn’t make this great festival happen year after year without our volunteers, the people on the (festival) committee and most especially, our sponsors,” Deitz said.
This year, organizers worked with Variety Attractions, of Ohio, to help book the headlining acts.
The three additional headlining acts (there will be four headlining acts in total) will be announced around February and March.
“People will immediately recognize the names when they are announced,” Deitz said.
Two-day passes for the AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival are on sale at the 1st Summit Arena (formerly Cambria County War Memorial) box office, Ticketmaster.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information about the 2018 festival, visit www.floodcitymusic.com.
Early bird pricing will remain in effect through April 15. Single-day tickets will go on sale when early bird pricing on passes expires.
“Tickets to the festival would make great Christmas gifts because this is definitely a festival to look forward to, and by that time, the sun will be shining and the weather will be beautiful,” Deitz said. “Plus, there’s nowhere else you can hear 20 bands and such great music for the price you’ll get during the early bird special. Come August, someone is really going to thank you.”