2 concerts pay tribute to life and music of Wilkes-Barre reggae artist George Wesley on June 24
The “Old Lion” will roar once again on Saturday, June 24 when two different venues in Northeastern Pennsylvania celebrate the life and music of Wilkes-Barre reggae musician George Wesley, who passed away last year at the age of 62 after a brief battle with liver cancer.
Born on June 21, 1954 in Clarks Summit, the two events – the first annual Birthday Bash at the River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains and the Old Lion Reggae Celebration at Mountain Sky in Jermyn –
are just a few days shy of his birthday.
Known for playing original Caribbean-influenced songs and covers with his full band as well as his solo live looping project Small Axe Orchestra in venues and festivals across the area for over 40 years, Wesley was beloved by many and an inspiration to the local music scene, as was shown in tributes last year at the Peach Music Festival, on WVIA, and during the Steamtown Music Awards, where he received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hosted by his son James, the Birthday Bash will have music by James Wesley & Friends featuring John Shemo and MiZ and will honor George Wesley as well as his close friend Jack Zakrewski, affectionately known as Papa Jack, who passed away unexpectedly on May 20. Papa Jack was a big music fan and always came to Wesley’s shows.
Doors at the Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains) open at 8 p.m., and the 21+ show starts at 10 p.m. Tickets, which are $5 in advance, can be purchased online via HoldMyTicket. For more information, visit riverstreetjazzcafe.com.
The Old Lion Reggae Celebration features music all day from Taj Weekes & Adowa, the Subnotics, Preach Freedom and Connect, Papa Herb and The Sol Vibration, and Young Lion. There will be free camping, food and craft vendors, local artists, kids’ activities, and it is BYOB (no glass allowed).
Doors at Mountain Sky (63 Stillmeadow Lane, Jermyn) open at 11 a.m., and the all-ages festival starts at noon and runs until 11 p.m. Tickets, which are $25-$35, can be purchased in advance via Ticketfly. For more information, see the Facebook event page or visit mountainsky.net.
Photo by Tom Bonomo/EyeDesignStudios