WILLIAMSPORT – The city’s nightlife is accented by its music scene, helping to bring more people downtown and grow the customer base for area restaurants.
“The music and arts don’t happen if there aren’t people to appreciate them,” said Tim Breon, local musician and teacher. “When you go to these venues that helps support their mission and keeps them going and it also keeps the restaurants going.”
Matthew Colegrove, lead singer of Audiobox, began playing music in middle school. He graduated to a garage band in the late 1990s, but even then it was hard for the members to get their feet under them.
“Without a local scene, it would be hard for a band to take off,” Colegrove said.
Opening for some local, established bands was important, Colegrove said, and helped them gain a foothold in the then small music scene.
The music scene has grown over the years with a revival of the city’s art scene and new restaurants emerging over the past decade. Live bands are now a pivotal part to the thriving social scene in downtown Williamsport.
“We play downtown and it’s usually good for us to play. It keeps us relevant and it keeps people knowing that we’re still around,” Colegrove said.
At the Genetti’s Taphouse, throwing open the doors and letting the music echo through the streets is perfect for bringing in business, said Christopher Williams, bar manager.
“There’s a lot of good local bands around,” Williams said. “It changes the atmosphere and the ambience – the mood.”
Music also is used in Williamsport for fundraising efforts. The Lycoming County United Way is holding a benefit on Thursday at the Community Arts Center to provide locals with Billy Joel music and raise funds for the United Way’s community efforts throughout the county.
Not only is it the non profit’s first music fundraising event, it is also its largest one of the year.
Local hotspots such as the Bar on Market, Bullfrog Brewery, Genetti Hotel and Brickyard are sure to have a few bands during the week.
From jazz to pop and grunge, the variety of music styles in the area is a barometer to show that the scene is thriving, Breon said.
Many musicians will jump around from band to band, playing with different styles, setups and instruments. It provides an interconnectedness to the bands, people and locations throughout the city.
“If your art scene is thriving, I think that probably means there is a good economic base going on because people can afford to go out and see these kind of things,” Breon said.
For Colegrove, a downtown scene without live music would be boring. It’s a world he said he wouldn’t want to live it.
“I like music so much I would hate to not have music,” he said. “We’re like the court jesters of old. We’re only there for your entertainment.”