Rich Howells

Scranton music scene supports Irish Wolf Pub owner Peter Kelly with fundraiser and benefit show on May 5

Scranton music scene supports Irish Wolf Pub owner Peter Kelly with fundraiser and benefit show on May 5
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After a long battle with cancer, Rhonda Kelly passed away at her home in Henryville surrounded by family on Sunday, March 31. Her husband, Peter Kelly, has been a big supporter of the Northeastern Pennsylvania music scene for years through his bar, the Irish Wolf Pub (and its previous incarnation, the Judge & Jury) in downtown Scranton, so musicians, bookers, and fellow venue owners are stepping up to help out during the Kelly family’s time of need.

The very next day, a benefit concert was announced, set for Sunday, May 5 at Stage West (301 N. Main Ave., Scranton). The show will feature performances by These Idol Hands, Slapjaw, Gypsy Valley Kings, Terrorize This, The Mesos, Willrow Hood, Jay Luke, and Dave Kline and Johnny Jones of Ashfall. Doors open at 3 p.m., and it is a $5 suggested donation at the door.

Those who cannot make it to this event can donate to the family via GoFundMe, which has already raised $675 in just one day. Both the show and the crowdfunding campaign were started by music promoter Joe Caviston, co-owner of event production and management company Meat and Potato Entertainment with Graces Downfall singer Kenneth Norton. In addition to producing the annual Electric City Music Conference in Scranton, the company also books shows at both the Irish Wolf Pub and Stage West, managing the pub in recent months at Peter Kelly’s request as he cared for his ailing wife.

The Irish Wolf Pub is currently undergoing renovations and will eventually change its name under the new management and business plan, but Kelly told NEPA Scene that he is still the owner and plans to be involved as he continues to book bands at places like Finnegan’s Irish Rock Club, where he will bring Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna back to Scranton on Saturday, July 20. Hailing from County Meath, Ireland and known for his big personality, love of music, and support of charitable causes, Kelly has hosted many national and international acts at the Irish Wolf Pub over the years while welcoming local bands of all genres on a weekly basis, including some original NEPA artists that otherwise wouldn’t have a place to play as other small venues in the area came and went.

“Anyone that knows Peter knows that he’s hosted countless benefits throughout the years for others. He’s also dedicated his life to providing musicians with a stage to play on for the last decade. We’re hoping that the local community can rally around the Kelly family during this unfortunate time,” Caviston said.

“We’re attempting to raise funds to help the family with costs associated with the passing of their beloved wife and mother. … [Stage West owner] Steve [Masterson] volunteered his venue so that Peter can enjoy the company of everyone that loves him that evening and be in the moment.”

Born in Maryland, Rhonda Ann Kelly was only 52 when she passed away, according to her obituary. “Rhonda was a message therapist for most of her life. She had lived in the Poconos for the past 25 years and, prior to that, in New York and Maryland. In addition to her husband, Rhonda is survived by her son Peter John Kelly of Henryville,” it reads.

The service at the Joseph J. Pula Funeral Home in Stroudsburg will be private, but Peter Kelly is hosting a celebration of life on Tuesday, April 2 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and Wednesday, April 3 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at his home. Anyone interested in attending can contact him on Facebook.

“Positive stories only, no sadness,” he said. “We are coming together to celebrate Rhonda’s life.”

Photo by Keith Perks/1120 Creative/NEPA Scene