By Patrick Kernan, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — If you missed the final entry in the Rockin’ the River summer concert series, don’t worry; one county official says the plan is to do it all again next year.
The concert series, which debuted this month, wrapped up on Friday evening, giving one last summer party to the people who gathered on the Susquehanna River bank to watch it all go down.
The final performers in the series were Scranton-based A Proud Monkey, a tribute act to the Dave Matthews Band, and thousands of people gathered in Millennium Circle on River Street.
According to county manager C. David Pedri, the series has been a “phenomenal” success.
“People want these things around here,” he said. “They deserve them.”
According to Pedri, each of the concerts managed to attract several hundred people, with over 1,000 in the first week and around 500 last week, even as temperatures flirted with the triple digits. The number was back into the thousands again on Friday.
And Pedri said that the concerts managed to bring together a huge sense of community.
“Look around; no one’s on their phone, on Facebook or Instagram,” he said. “They’re talking to each other, playing with their kids.”
This sentiment was echoed by both the performers and concert-goers.
Jamie Anzalone, guitarist and vocalist for opening act County Lines, thanked Luzerne County for putting the event together.
“It’s great that we have this community on this river,” Anzalone said, before breaking into the band’s next funky bluegrass song.
Dave Purcell and Maureen Johns, a couple from Swoyersville and Exeter, respectively, decided to come out to see the concert and see how the series was before it wrapped up for the year.
“It’s nice to see this in this area,” Purcell said, adding that he and Johns came out since the weather was beautiful.
The pair said they’re just fans of live music and a good time, and they’re glad to see the county putting that on.
“We need to do more things in this area that are positive,” Purcell said.
Purcell, and presumably the thousands of others who came out to the concert series, will be glad to know that Pedri said the county plans to bring Rockin’ the River back next year, and says that he hopes for continuing partnerships with Wilkes-Barre to use the Millennium Circle for other events.