By Patrick Kernan, Wilkes- Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri has an idea for what you can do this weekend.
This Friday, the county’s “Rockin’ the River” concert series kicks off for the first time at Millennium Circle, the amphitheater located alongside the Susquehanna River in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
According to Pedri, the concert series seems like the logical conclusion on how to better use the River Common park.
“I started looking around, saw other cities, other municipalities have these great community events,” Pedri said. “I walk by the Millennium Circle every day, and I don’t think we use it to its fullest extent.
“What are we doing to draw attention to the good things we’re doing in Luzerne County?” he continued.
This led to the birth of the free summer concert series. Held on the remaining Fridays throughout July, “Rockin’ the River” will feature the following lineups:
• July 12
Opener: Joe Nardone’s Rockology, featuring performers from the Gallery of Sound’s music school.
Headliner: Yellow Brick Road, an Elton John tribute band
• July 19
Opener: MiZ, a fusion of folk, rock, bluegrass and blues
Headliner: The National Reserve, a blend of funk, soul and rock
• July 26
Opener: County Lines, a mix of country and pop
Headliner: A Proud Monkey, a Dave Matthews tribute band
Music will start each night at 6 p.m.
But Pedri said music isn’t the only thing that will be available — food trucks will be on site starting at 5 p.m., and the Susquehanna Brewing Co. will have a tent serving brews. Pedri said Wilkes-Barre has been great to work with, saying they agreed to temporarily lift the city’s open container ordinance in parks during the concerts.
Pedri said he’s hoping to combat a worn-out phrase he says he hears all the time: “There’s nothing to do around here.”
“The people in Northeastern Pennsylvania as a whole have a self-esteem problem,” he said. “We don’t know how good we have it here.”
Additionally, Pedri said no county money was involved in the project, saying the local business community was instrumental in throwing it all together.
“We have the ability here, just with a couple of phone calls, to get a great event like this,” he said.
Pedri said free parking are available during the show, and the Luzerne County Transportation Authority will provide free bus service to the downtown intermodal terminal from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. on the nights of the concerts.