by KP Intern Kyle Predmore
The 2018 Summer Concert Series at the John P. Murtha Riverfront Park in Kittanning kicked off this weekend with Sammy Kershaw heading the event.
Despite the cloudy day and possible rain, thousands still were on hand for the event.
“We are going into the 11th year, “Arts on the Allegheny Chair Mary Ann Valasek said in an interview. “We began at the request of Kittanning Borough Jerry Shuster, who was president at the time. He requested that we do something with the amphitheater. It was constructed in 1998 but wasn’t used often, so he got a few local people together and requested we come up with an idea.”
Last Saturday, Sammy Kershaw was the main music attraction. Born in Louisiana, Kershaw is a country music artist that has released 16 studio albums, with three Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) platinum certifications and two gold certifications among them. Over 25 of his singles have entered Top 40 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. His first studio album was released in 1991 with his most recent album “Swamp Poppin” released in 2017.
“There are a lot of county fans in the area,” Valasek said. “What we try to do is create a diverse slate of talent so there’s something for every taste. We haven’t had country for a few years, so we felt this was the year to bring country music back to the area.”
Along with the music performers were many different food vendors, including Bugsy’s Pizza, L.A. Taco and other vendors alongside all the usual foods seen at festivals. The event is free, open to the public and is funded through sponsors, donors and grants.
“It’s a lot of fun and can’t do it without the businesses that help support this program,” Valasek said. “I have a wonderful committee and board that does an excellent job. I book the talent and lead, but it’s without a doubt a great group that helps put these events together.”
The Summer Concert Series will be back on August 25 with Donnie Iris as the headliner. Donnie Iris is a Pennsylvania native, born in New Castle. He also built on to his fame as a solo artist during the 1980s with the songs “Ah! Leah!” and “Love Is Like a Rock”. Vendors will begin at 5 P.M with music starting at 7 P.M.