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More than 120 bands to perform during free Millvale Music Festival

| Monday, May 1, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Drowning Clowns will be performing. Members in photo are Mike Speranzo, Jesse Prentiss, Evan Smith and Liz Berlin. Not pictured: Troy Cramer and Mark Strickland.
Drowning Clowns will be performing. Members in photo are Mike Speranzo, Jesse Prentiss, Evan Smith and Liz Berlin. Not pictured: Troy Cramer and Mark Strickland.
Todd Knepp of The Dovewires will be performing.
Todd Knepp of The Dovewires will be performing.
Nox Boys members Chris Trepagnier, left, Zack Keim, Bob Powers and Sam Berman will be performing.
Andy Johanson | For the Tribune-Review
Nox Boys members Chris Trepagnier, left, Zack Keim, Bob Powers and Sam Berman will be performing.

Millvale Music Festival organizers received applications from more than 400 bands and musicians to perform at this year's inaugural May 13 event.

“We were overwhelmed. It was really an awesome thing to see … We had to pick and choose because, obviously, Millvale only has so many places for us to put people,” said Brian Crawford, festival chairman and founder of The River's Edge online radio station.

The organizers — all volunteers — have narrowed it down to more than 120 solo artists and bands performing rock, jam, folk, jazz, metal, punk, alternative and other genres at more than 15 venues, including the Grant Avenue Pocket Park, Millvale Community Library, New Sun Rising headquarters, Grist House Craft Brewery and Bar 3.

The festival will operate under the Millvale Community Development Committee's purview, therefore, gaining nonprofit status. While the event is free, Crawford encourages guests to purchase items from the venues, which will offer 10 percent of profits to the festival. In turn, organizers will use those proceeds to pay the artists.

“It's a great community event, and one of the things that we exist for in the community is to serve … for us, anything that is good for the community is a win,” said Erik Germesin, lead pastor at Element Church, which will host the Sidekick Media Stage featuring pop and indie performers.

Mr. Smalls entertainment complex owners Liz Berlin and Mike Speranzo will perform with their “psychedelic rock orchestra” Drowning Clowns at 7 p.m. at The Funhouse @ Mr. Smalls, prior to opening up their stage to others.

“A big reason why we opened The Funhouse was to provide a place to showcase all of the incredibly talented musicians in our community, and I am so thrilled to see so many people in the community of Millvale supporting local musicians as well,” said Berlin, also a member of Rusted Root.

Headliners Nox Boys will play garage punk from their self-titled LP from Get Hip Recordings at 9 p.m. at the main stage. In 2015, they opened for Benjamin Booker at the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival's main stage.

Lead vocalist Zack Keim said the band is looking forward to seeing Some Kind of Animal, The Semi-Supervillains, Pet Clinic, Greywalker and Morgan Erina perform.

Millvale resident Todd Knepp of The Dovewires will play acoustic garage rock at the Oskar Blues Stage at the Millvale VFW Post 118.

“Millvale's blowing up, obviously. I'd put this up there with the other (Pittsburgh) music festivals,” he said.

Through his radio station, Crawford has experience working with the Deutschtown Music Festival, Strip District Music Festival and Rock All Night Tour. He said his event has a couple of innovations differentiating it from the others. First, visitors to the festival's website can view a Google Map illustrating the venue locations and shuttle service routes provided by zTrip. Clicking a link from the website will open the map within a user's Google Maps app. Second, organizers created Google Calendar pages on the website for each act, enabling users to import customized lineups into their own personal Google Calendars.

Guests may park at the Mount Alvernia complex at 146 Hawthorne Road or near the Grossman Lane baseball field and take a shuttle.

Crawford hopes the festival exposes guests to new local musicians and to all that Millvale has to offer.

“I think it's a really unique community, and I hope that people who come to visit the music festival will get to see the unique variety of businesses that we have here in Millvale and just what an amazing, tight-knit community we have.”

Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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