Pajama Factory set for Seventh Annual Blues Bash

Kick off your New Year’s Eve festivities and ring in 2019 with one of Williamsport’s biggest celebrations in town, as WXPI Community Radio presents the Seventh Annual New Year’s Blues Bash at 6 p.m. Dec. 30, in the Community Room at the Pajama Factory, 1307 Park Avenue.

Produced by Enduring Star Productions and Pajama Factory LLC, this fundraising concert event will benefit WXPI 88.5 Community Radio Station and will feature local talent Stacia Abernatha & Gabe Stillman, plus an Eric Clapton tribute with Sean Farley and David Lynn, Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats from State College, and the headliner, America’s oldest touring blues band, The Nighthawks.

Fred Daniele of Franco’s Restaurant and Music Club, Enduring Star Productions and producer of Blues Bash, is a long-standing supporter and promoter of the Blues scene in the Williamsport area and started this event as a New Year’s Eve EVE Party.

“Our New Year’s Blues Bash at the Pajama Factory has emerged as one of the region’s best holiday party events,” Daniele said. “World class entertainment in this casual venue space, this event is the perfect pre-New Year’s Eve night out during the limbo week between Christmas and New Year’s.”

A few years into the event, Daniele was on the hunt for a new venue — that’s when Mark Winkelman, owner of the Pajama Factory and producer of Blues Bash, stepped in to offer the Pajama Factory. The event then evolved into a benefit concert that raises money to support local, non-profit companies in the area.

“We have designated the Pajama Factory’s Community Room to serve as a venue for our tenants and the local community, in particular non-profit organizations from the Williamsport area,” Winkelman said. “In the past, Factory Works has been the beneficiary of this concert event. Other non-profits that have been able to utilize the venue for their events are AIDS Resource, ACES North America, PA Wilds, Studio 570, Lyco Taiko, the Spectrum Society and many more.”

Danielle Velkoff is head of Events and Business Development at the Pajama Factory and works closely with both Daniele and Winkelman to bring their vision for this event to life.

“I handle logistics while Fred coordinates all the bands and musical talent for the event, along with the branding,” she said. “We all work together on ticket sales as proceeds from the event go towards the non-profit we are supporting. This year, we’re are raising funds for the local, community radio station WXPI 88.5 FM.”

A non-profit, local community radio station housed within the revitalized historic Pajama Factory complex, WXPI 88.5 is a listener-supported, independent community radio station serving the local communities of Williamsport, Jersey Shore and the surrounding areas and is run by a dedicated staff of volunteers.

“We are an all-volunteer community radio station, working together to give a voice to our community by providing local non-profit organizations, community groups and individual residents the means to express themselves on the air and online through radio broadcasts and podcasts,” said Curtis Musheno, director of WXPI. “Donations made from ticket sales and proceeds will directly benefit this collective effort and keep independent radio alive in our community.”

The station’s purpose is to give the local community an opportunity to share their voice on the radio, alongside original and nationally syndicated radio programming, on the air at 88.5 FM and online at wxpiradio.org. Through this fundraising event, WXPI hopes to support their long-term goal to broadcast the FM Radio signal from Williamsport to better serve the community.

Williamsport’s own Stacia Abernatha is a singer-songwriter who sings an eclectic array of styles and genres, with her passion in blues/Americana and world music. She has shared the stage with legendary blues artists Tas Cru and The Nighthawks and can be seen performing locally with fellow musician friends. Abernatha is a vocal instructor at The Uptown Music Collective and currently serves on The Billtown Blues Association’s Talent & Hospitality Committees.

Rooted in American Blues, Gabe Stillman & The Billtown Giants draw deeply from influences of Soul, R&B, Funk, and New Orleans jazz & blues music. The electrifying trio’s dynamic performances showcase the band’s musical prowess, artistry, and pure joy of playing.

Born and raised and based in Williamsport, singer, songwriter and guitarist Sean Farley has opened for bands like Blue Oyster Cult and Yes and has shared the stage with many internationally-renowned musicians such as Ann Rabson, Bnois King, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, “Iron Man” Michael Burks, Melissa Reaves, and more.

Coming from State College, Miss Melanie and the Valley Rats specialize in all aspects of the blues, as well as performing roots, soul and New Orleans infused grooves. Featuring the powerful and sultry voice of Melanie Zeigler, the band also includes the exquisite talent of guitarist Mark Ross, the innovative, soulful stylings of organist Rev. James Harton and drummer Jordan Thompson.

Headlining the event are The Nighthawks, one of the oldest touring blues bands in the country, having performed in 49 states, a dozen countries and with nearly all the living blues legends. This legendary American roots band, dubbed the “Bad Boys of Bethesda,” have been making it happen since 1972, and feature founding father Mark Wenner, the only remaining original member. The band also includes Paul Bell and Johnny Castle, both in the band for nearly a decade, and their newest addition Mark Stutso, who joined at the beginning of 2010.

Being that this is their seventh year hosting Blues Bash, the Pajama Factory has many loyal patrons who come back year after year to enjoy this event.

“Our hope is to create a rocking good time for our guests while raising money for a good cause,” Velkoff said. “Mark and Fred, along with all the musicians, volunteers, and staff, are working hard to provide a fun and successful event in hopes that we will raise funds that allow WXPI 88.5, and any future nonprofits, to fulfill their goal and advance their mission.”

Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m.