Bucks County Herald

Quakertown Amphitheater series attracts Grammy winners

MELINDA RIZZO



Gary Puckett and the Union Gap will perform with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone.

Quakertown hopes to become a summer concert stopover for national acts, kicking off its first full season with a trifecta of Grammy Award winners, a British invasion band and the inventor of a legendary dance craze.

This year’s roll-out has Blood Sweat & Tears performing at 8 p.m., July 20; Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone at 8 p.m. Aug. 24 and Chubby Checker bringing his music and “the twist” to Quakertown at 8 p.m. Sept. 7.

The concerts will be held at the park at 4th Street, just off Mill Street in downtown Quakertown. Tickets cost $30 to 60 and are available at quakertown.eventbrite.com.

Ryan Sevenski, Quakertown parks and recreation coordinator, said last year’s opener with Craig Thatcher and Nyke Van Wyk was to “test the waters” and see if there was interest in outdoor concerts in Quakertown.

“That show (proved) the venue, and we, could handle it,” Sevenski said.

The free concert packed the park and was the litmus test for officials designing this year’s events.

“We are really excited about the upcoming concert series and the bands we have secured. Our “kick off” concert last fall featuring local artist Craig Thatcher exceeded our expectations for attendance,” said Cathy Gillahan, Quakertown resident and chair of the park development steering committee.

Gillahan has been involved with Quakertown’s park system as well as the proposal for the permanent amphitheater for several years.

“We came together and said let’s provide world class entertainment here,” Sevenski said of meetings with borough officials and the committees. He said calls have been coming in from as far as Pittsburgh, New York and New Jersey about the upcoming line-up. “We’ve been getting calls about places to stay and restaurants,” Sevenski said.

Which is exactly the intention of attracting top talent to the borough, Sevenski said.

Quakertown’s downtown revitalization efforts have been in motion for years, aimed at attracting new business and tourism to the municipality known locally as “the heart of Upper Bucks.”

“It’s all part of a bigger plan,” Sevenski said.

Bringing big names to the borough factors into the economic and downtown revitalization efforts, Sevenski explained.

“We are hoping to make Quakertown more of a destination with our concerts,” Gillahan said.

Gillahan said the upcoming concerts were just the beginning.

“Every year, we intend on providing entertainment in the amphitheater throughout the summer with top-named entertainers from all genres. It is our hope to obtain bands and entertainers that would draw people from all age groups – not just ‘oldies’ for the baby boomers,” Gillahan said.

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