Rich Howells

Peach Music Festival will remember late George Wesley with ‘all-star’ tribute set on Aug. 14

Peach Music Festival will remember late George Wesley with ‘all-star’ tribute set on Aug. 14
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Singer/songwriter Mike Mizwinski, known to local music fans simply as MiZ, has been a regular performer at The Peach Music Festival in his hometown of Scranton over the years, though he wasn’t planning on taking the stage this time until he looked at the 2016 lineup.

Wilkes-Barre reggae artist George Wesley, who passed away on July 19 after a brief battle with liver cancer at the age of 62, was still listed on the schedule to play, so he reached out to his son, fellow musician James Wesley, and Live Nation to put a heartfelt tribute set together in his stead.

“I’m happy to announce that James and I will be playing the Peach Festival on Sunday, Aug. 14 with an all-star cast of musicians, performing a special tribute to the legacy and life of the great George Wesley,” Mizwinski posted on his Facebook page.

“The set will be billed as ‘A Tribute to George Wesley,’ and its sole purpose will be to honor George and all the beautiful music and love he gave to this world. May he never be forgotten. Come help us celebrate his life.”

This “all-star” jam currently includes John Shemo, guitarist and vocalist of Mother Nature’s Sons, with more musicians to be announced.

Wesley was a “huge inspiration” to Mizwinski, whose latest MiZ album is 2015’s “Parking Meters,” and they performed together many times over the years. He recently posted an acoustic cover of Wesley’s “Strong” on YouTube in his memory:

Many friends and local musicians have been remembering Wesley lately with kind words and tributes, including WVIA’s re-airing of his 2008 “Homegrown Music Concerts” performance last week, and James Wesley is currently running a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help his family cover funeral costs and any remaining medical bills.

It’s clear that after 40 years of making music with his own band as well as his Small Axe Orchestra, where he used a unique live looping technique to sound like a full group while playing solo, his work will live on. He was more than just a talented singer and songwriter, though – he was an inspiring ambassador for peace and love wherever he went, spreading smiles and joy to audiences and all who knew him. He didn’t just sing words of compassion and understanding – he lived them every day through his beautiful art and his generous actions. Thankfully, his everyday kindness endures today in those who knew him as well.

See photos from last year’s Peach Fest here and read the full lineup here.

Photo by Tom Bonomo/EyeDesignStudios