Eight groups from different musical genres had the audience at the Community Arts Center tapping their toes, singing along and out of their seats dancing during the inaugural Downtown Billtown Music Festival Saturday.
As the Williamsport City Jazz Orchestra belted out its first selection, Bill Van Campen and the rest of the Billtown Blues Association saw its dream of an all-inclusive music festival in the city come to fruition.
"We've been trying to do this for about two, three years," said Van Campen, blues association president.
Alison, Richard, and Joseph Paul perform country-pop Saturday during the first-ever Downtown Billtown Music Fest.
But after pitching the idea to Rob Steele, executive director of the CAC, Van Campen said it all came together. And although the organization hosts its annual Billtown Blues Festival, it wanted to give all local musicians, no matter their genre, an opportunity to perform.
"We thought that as an organization that we could branch out with the Community Arts Center and not just do blues but showcase all kinds of music," Van Campen explained.
He added that it also "made sense," since he believes blues is the "roots" of all music.
"Blues is the basis of a lot of music," Van Campen noted.
And with so many different types of music, all involved believed that there would be a good "cross over" for fans.
"I think it's a great idea," said Mark Doncheski, banjo player for Stained Grass Window, "because a lot of time they'll say, 'I don't like that music,' because they don't know if they'll like it."
Cindy McNeil, of Montoursville, said she was there to hear some "good music."
"I've loved music from the time I was little," she said.
Charlie Moore, harmonica player for Doug McMinn Blues Band, said the festival was a way to get a lesson about all types of music.
"That's great," he said. "If you only had one type of food to eat, you'd get bored. ... If they just came for one band, they'll get educated."
Audience members agreed that some heard music at the festival that they wouldn't have otherwise.
"To hear the music you're getting to hear today, you'd have to go back to the 80s," said Wes Strayer, of South Williamsport.
He and his wife Karen said they hope this will get local music "out there," into the public.
"I think it should be educational. You've got everything from bluegrass to heavy metal," said Doug McMinn, lead vocalist of Doug McMinn Blues Band.
He added that the opportunity to play in a venue like the CAC is exciting, as well.
"The big excitement is getting to play on a big stage," McMinn said.
Doncheski agreed about the venue.
"I'm happy they wanted us. Places like this are absolutely wonderful," he said.
Kimberly Adair, leader of Kim Adair and Soulful, said it doesn't matter the size of the stage, she still gets nervous. But she added that she's excited about the opportunity to perform at the festival.
Van Campen is hoping that the event will become an annual concert, but it depended on how the area took to it.
Larry Switzer, of the city, thinks as more people learn about it, the festival will be a success.
"I think it will grow," he said.
"It's always been a big music area," said Karen Strayer.