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Party on the Plaza changes for 2008

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Published: Wed, May 21, 2008 @ 1:01 p.m.

YOUNGSTOWN – Buffalo wings, booze, bands and bikers will be the focus of this year’s Party on the Plaza series.

Alan Drennan, regional manager for Buffalo Wild Wings, said this year, with the city’s cooperation, Federal Street will be blocked off from Market to Champion streets so people riding their motorcycles can have somewhere to park and display their bikes.

In addition to the parking, Drennan said they will also have a buffalo wing buffet set up outside, so people enjoying a drink have something to eat.

“Responsible alcohol service is key, especially with the success of this event,” Drennan said. “...we want to make it more of a festival-type atmosphere where the only entertainment isn’t the music.”

Drennan said one of their focuses this year was to make the entertainment aspect a little more diverse than in years past. He said by teaming up with Youngstown Local Music, they were able to get a better mix of original, local music.

“Every year, we try to reinvent the party,” Drennan said. “This year, we tried to reach out to the community.”

Drennan said they will continue to showcase Via Sahara and The House Band because those two bands have been playing Party on the Plaza since it began in 1996. The Rage was also featured in years past, but are not able to play this year because of scheduling conflicts, he said.

“They were there for me, so I want to return the favor,” Drennan said. “Now, with the exposure this event offers, it’s good for them.”

Phil Kidd, downtown’s special events director, said when they started discussing this year’s Party on the Plaza, they wanted to make it more Pro-Yo, and highlight what’s already been going on in the city, as far as local talent.

He said they tried to take downtown’s largest event on a consistent basis and combine it with bikers and the local music scene to produce a positive product.

“I think it’s a pretty good model and I think it’ll be well-received,” Kidd said. “We’re merging all the things that have been successful.”

Jim DeCapua of YLM said he was approached by Party on the Plaza organizers to help book some of the bands. He said he tried to find bands that would fit the Party on the Plaza mold, while complementing the already-headlining acts.

“There’s definitely new talent out there that’s finally getting recognition, and I’m glad that we’re doing that for these bands,” DeCapua said. “I think it’s gonna be a good summer for music all around.”

This Friday, DeCapua said YLM was in-charge of booking the entire show. He says he’s thankful that people are starting to catch on to the local talent, and that they’re utilizing YLM to book shows.

“We’re just happy to get asked to help,” DeCapua said. “It’s like one idea that’s turned into this huge thing. They see that we’re bringing something and that’s kinda cool.”

The changes don’t stop there. Drennan said Fast Freddie from CD 93.3 The Wolf will be broadcasting his show live from the event. There will also be a contest on The Wolf’s Web site where you can sign up to win 20 VIP passes each week. Party on the Plaza will also be giving away a 3-day, 2-night get-a-way each week.

“The city, and working with Phil Kidd has been nice,” Drennan said. “The nice thing about the event is it’s an all-ages event, it’s good for downtown and it’s good for the city.”

The Party on the Plaza schedule is:

May 23: Jordan DePaul and Geo C and Tha Storm

June 13: Acoustic Juggernaut and Via Sahara

June 27: Winslow and The House Band

July 18: The Kellys and The House Band

Aug 8: The Devotees and Jones for Revival

Aug. 22: Mystic Whip Hustler and Rudy and the Professionals

Sept. 12: The Zou and Red Wanting Blue

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