Despite the sort of tempest in a teapot "controversy" that surrounded the event, last year's Niagara Falls Music & Art Festival was a resounding success, drawing morethan 25,000 people. And promoter Rick Crogan promises that this year's showcase will be even bigger and better.
The festival will be held June 19, 20 and 21, along Old Falls Street between the Seneca Niagara Casino and the state park entrance. This emphasis this year is on homegrown talent, Crogan told the Niagara Falls Reporter.
"We're looking to celebrate the resurrection and resurgence of this once great city with artists and musicians born raised and returning home to Niagara Falls to helpbring our city's dreams to fruition," Crogan said. "Our goal is to improve the Quality of life for individuals, business owners and the community as a whole throughthe presentation of a diverse collection of artists, musicians, vendors and activities to foster economic growth and cultural diversity."
To that end, Crogan has recruited more than 30 of the most popular acts on the Niagara Frontier to provide continuous music from two big stages. The musicians willjoin more than 100 vendors set up along the pedestrian walkway selling everything from art to T shirts to hot dogs and beer.
Unlike other concert series and festivals held here, which rely heavily on taxpayer subsidies. Crogan is throwing his shindig under the auspices of his privatecompany, Balabans LLC. Other corporate sponsors lured in by the festival's past success include Home Depot, the Sheraton at the Falls, the Niagara Gazette, GlobalSpectrum, Try It Distributors, the Niagara Hub, Deal Realty, Lewiston Music, Yorkville Sound and many more.
The rich heritage of Niagara Falls' musical heritage will be honored when Joe Catalano, founder and owner of Regal Tip, the internationally renowned manufacturer ofdrum sticks and other tools for percussionists.
Catalano returned home to Niagara Falls following service as an airman in World War II and set himself up in the cabinet making business. A musician since childhood,he played drums in local dance bands around town to help supplement his income and support his young family.
Catalano hit them hard, and wore out drum sticks at an alarming rate. He began experimenting in the cabinet shop, finally coming up with a drum stick that incorporateda bonded nylon head that was much more durable than the bare wood and yet didn't adversely affect the sound.
He dubbed his brainchild the Regal Tip, and soon they became standard issue for rock and roll drummers all around the world. Today the company, still based in NiagaraFalls, manufactures and distributes a wide range of tools for percussionists of all musical styles.
All in all, the Niagara Falls Music & Art Festival promises three entertaining days of fun and excitement in a city that could badly use it. And it won't cost thetaxpayers a nickel.
"This event is going to have a positive impact on the Niagara Falls community, and bring back culture and the arts to downtown Niagara Falls," Crogan said.