Showcasing the melting pot that is the Williamsport area's music scene is the point of an upcoming downtown music festival.
The inaugural Downtown Billtown Music Festival is being planned from 4 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Community Arts Center, where eight homegrown blues, bluegrass, jazz, gospel, soul, indie, metal and classic rock acts will perform.
Hosted by the Billtown Blues Association and Community Arts Center, the event will be held in conjunction with Daniel Pearl World Music Day.
"We find good music everywhere we go (in the area)," said Bonnie Tallman, blues association secretary. "First Fridays, shows at Brandon Park, the local acts that have been performing at the Capitol Lounge or opened for shows at the Community Arts Center and the Billtown Blues Festival - if you put that together, you'll see there is so much talent here."
"I just marvel at what a spectacular place Williamsport is in terms of music and musical opportunities," she said. "Plus, there is the beauty of the city, the river and the Community Arts Center. It's a wonderful place."
Scheduled acts include blues musician Doug McMinn, who will be accompanied by the area's top blues musicians, and the Williamsport City Jazz Orchestra. Alison, Richard and Joseph Paul of Alison Wonderband will cover a variety of genres, while Kimberly Adair and Soulful will perform gospel and soul.
Other performers included metal artists Jared Mondell and 44 Mag., popular bluegrass band Stained Grass Window and indie folk musician Mal Scoppa and Tall Tales. Classic rock band Clyde Frog will close out the show.
The idea for the festival grew out of a benefit concert held several years ago at the arts center, Tallman said.
"We stuck our toe in the water and invited a number of different performers representing different genres of music," she said. "We received an enormous amount of positive feedback for having a lot of variety at the same event."
Tallman said she hopes people attending the show to see a specific performer will widen their musical horizons by being exposed to other types of music.
"That's what we're hoping will happen," she said. "We encourage people to expand their musical knowledge and horizons and enjoy other performers on the bill."
Tallman said the organization presented the idea to Rob Steele, arts center executive director, and discovered Steele need no convincing. He was on board immediately.
"The (blues) association approached Rob and asked if we could use the venue and his technical support," she said. "That was like a 30-second conversation. He didn't even bat an eye. He immediately embraced it."
Steele said he relishes a chance to partner with the blues association.
"It is a true pleasure, indeed an honor, to collaborate with the Billtown Blues Association on this amazing festival," Steele said. "The BBA is a venerable and dynamic organization with a rich history and an unmatched commitment to promoting music in our area."
Steele agreed the area contains a wealth of musical talent and that more should - and will - be done to showcase that talent.
"The incredible Billtown music scene is quite simply a sword rusting in its scabbard," Steele said. "It is our fervent hope the Downtown Billtown Music Festival will become a highly prized annual event in our community. The boundless depth and breadth of talent and heart in our music community is a cause for celebration - and we intend to make it a celebration to remember."
"This is to celebrate local talent and we want (the performers) to feel like they are being celebrated," Tallman said. "I'm extremely excited about it."
World Music Days was established in 2002 to honor award-winning Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl, who was brutally killed while working in Pakistan.
Pearl loved music and used it to bring people together wherever he went. World Music Days was launched to unite musicians throughout the world and celebrate Pearl's passion for sharing music with people of all cultures.
The Downtown Billtown Music Festival will be among the events, Tallman said.