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SummerSounds concert series in Greensburg has second-best attendance

| Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, 11:45 p.m.

SummerSounds scored its second-highest attendance ever this year as Mother Nature turned out to be kinder than in 2012.

The 14th annual Greensburg concert series drew 29,204 people this year for 13 shows, organizers said. A total of 29,114 people attended in 2012, when rain threatened at least half of the 14 shows but caused no cancellations.

“The weather turned out OK,” said Gene James, SummerSounds committee chairman. “It started off bad. The opening show (this year) had rain forecast, but it was very light. We had three more shows with rain on (the show date), but we didn't have any rain-outs.”

The highest turnout for SummerSounds was in 2011, when 31,580 people gathered for 14 shows.

“I'm happy with that,” James said of the 2013 attendance. “We've become an anchor date for tours.”

Before the last few years, bands played in Greensburg if they had free time en route to someplace nearby, James said.

“That (being an anchor) means a lot to all of us. Bands want to play this gig,” James said.

James chooses the bands that participate, along with Westmoreland County Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr.

An average of 2,246 people attended each concert this year, compared with 2,255 in 2011 and 2,080 last year.

This year, the largest group of people went to the June 21 show expecting to see Marrakesh Express, a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-flavored group. That band ended up canceling, James said, forcing his committee to book Kashmir, a Led Zeppelin tribute band.

Some of the 4,733 people who turned out began to leave St. Clair Park when they heard about the cancellation, James said. But fortunately, Kashmir was from the same musical era as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, if different in sound, he said.

“They turned around and sat down,” James said.

The folk group Guggenheim Grotto on July 26 drew 2,975 people, ranking the show second in attendance this year.

More people from outside Westmoreland County are attending the concerts, organizers said.

Last year, 9 percent of the audience came from outside the county. This year, 12.5 percent attended from another county, James said.

A group of women made the jaunt from Texas to see A Silent Film, the concert series' opening act this year, James said.

“We ran into more and more people from Erie, Philadelphia, D.C., Cleveland — fans that will travel a good distance,” he said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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