NEPA Scene Staff

NEPA Scene co-hosts free West Scranton summer concert series June 14-Aug. 23

NEPA Scene co-hosts free West Scranton summer concert series June 14-Aug. 23
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Coasting down Main Avenue through Scranton, it’s easy to miss Allen Park. Situated between residences, restaurants, and other West Side businesses, the small urban greenspace offers a simple bench in front of a gazebo, with a small path shaded by trees. It’s a nice little refuge that drivers can overlook simply by blinking.

Last summer, many more people turned their heads and noticed the charming pocket park when NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania hosted six live performances there for its inaugural concert series. One of the nonprofit community development organization’s goals is to “revitalize neighborhoods,” and this new event certainly accomplished that on the typically quiet, unassuming corner of Price Street and North Main Avenue.

“The Allen Park Concert Series is a result of community outreach in West Side. NeighborWorks did a 10-year community development plan that was resident-driven, and many people reported a desire for more free family-friendly activities in the area. We thought music Friday nights at Allen Park would be the perfect location because it is walking distance to many staple West Scranton restaurants and amenities,” said Miranda Pace, the West Scranton Neighborhood Coordinator of NeighborWorks.

“The first year, we were testing the waters to see how the event would be received and if it would work in practice. People in the surrounding area seemed to enjoy that it was within walking distance. We didn’t market the event much, but it still had a word-of-mouth following, and people expressed they are excited for this year’s series.”

After learning that NEPA Scene editor Rich Howells was a West Scranton native, Pace reached out to see if he would be interested in partnering with them to make the second year even bigger – and louder.

“I was thrilled that NEPA Scene was asked to be the exclusive media sponsor of this event. They even let us pick the bands, so I made sure to include a variety of local artists from different musical genres who could share both original songs and covers that anyone can enjoy,” Howells stated.

“I am a West Sider born and raised, so it feels great to give back to the community I’m from with free, all-ages shows with bands from across Northeastern Pennsylvania that I believe everyone needs to hear. NEPA Scene also started right here in West Side nearly 10 years ago, so it’s all coming full circle.”

“This year, the event will be bigger because of the partnership with NEPA Scene recruiting the bands and contributing to promoting the event. We anticipate the bands will bring a bit of a following and that, with our combined efforts, we will be able to reach different groups of people,” Pace added.

“NEPA Scene is known for their knowledge of quality local bands of diverse genres, and that is exactly what we were looking for! We love that we can promote local arts together and provide a free event for the public.”

The six bi-weekly outdoor concerts will be held rain or shine on Fridays from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. starting on June 14 and running through Aug. 23, featuring everything from rock to jazz to funk to hip-hop music by Running in Flip-Flops, Tori V & The Karma, The Contact Collective, Brendan Brisk Band, The Holtzmann Effect, and Meet Me on Marcie.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets. Food and drinks will be available to purchase from small businesses within walking distance of Allen Park (1100 Price St., Scranton), and a parking lot is located across the street, with additional parking available along the adjoining streets.

“I’m absolutely excited about the lineup! We will be having more than just music this year. There will be a bike rodeo at one of the events, and we anticipate having games and other partners as well throughout the summer. We anticipate the event will make even more of a splash this year and are excited to see everyone out and about having a good time,” Pace enthused.

NeighborWorks’ mission is to create “stable, vibrant communities by amplifying the voices of residents and providing critical housing assistance, financial guidance, community development services, and proactive partnerships.” During their time in West Scranton and this part of the Hyde Park neighborhood, Pace found that citizens are just as committed to improve this area as they are.

“I love the passion people have for their community here. I work on connecting different pieces of the community to one another. One thing everyone I work with has in common is that they want to make West Side a better place – whether for themselves, their families, or in honor of where they came from. There are so many people here who want to be involved and put their skills to work for the betterment of the area. Our role is to amplify this community desire and provide a pathway for people who want to get involved.”

2024 Allen Park Concert Series schedule

Friday, June 14 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Running in Flip-Flops

Friday, June 28 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Tori V & The Karma

Friday, July 12 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: The Contact Collective (acoustic)

Friday, July 26 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Brendan Brisk Band

Friday, Aug. 9 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: The Holtzmann Effect Trio

Friday, Aug. 23 from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.: Meet Me on Marcie

Photo by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene