Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Big Bang Rockfest IV set for Saturday

  • Downtown Pittsburg will be the most rocking place in the Midwest on Saturday, maybe even in the whole country, and possibly on the entire planet.

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  • Downtown Pittsburg will be the most rocking place in the Midwest on Saturday, maybe even in the whole country, and possibly on the entire planet.
    That’s when Big Bang Rockfest IV will be  held, and when founder/musician Jon Bartlow says the event is bigger and better than ever, he means it.
    The event, a fundraiser for Pittsburg’s annual July 4 fireworks show at Lincoln Park, had previously been held at Club 505, owned by Mike Sittner. Now it’s going to spread out.
    “Mike Sittner came to me three or four months ago and said we should expand the rockfest, so now we’re going to have it at four venues,” Bartlow said. “Everyone I’ve talked to is thrilled with this, and it will allow us to have three times as many bands.”
    The venues, in addition to Club 505 at 505 N. Broadway, are the Fifth Street Bar and Grill at 111 W. Fifth, JST Bobby G’s at 108 W. Sixth and Danny Bell’s Wild West at 305 N. Broadway.
    “They’re all within walking distance of each other,” Bartlow said. “Last year wrist bands cost $5 and this  year they will be $10, which will get you into all four venues.”
    The venues will open at 3 p.m. Saturday and that’s when wrist bands will  go on sale. Bands start playing at 4 p.m., and will continue until the musicians are played out.
    Organizing and coordinating all this is a big task, especially because when Bartlow isn’t rocking he’s holds down the very responsible position of being associate director of admissions at Pittsburg  State University.
    “Jeremy Parvin and I started this in 2010, and he has since moved,” Bartlow said. “I’m truly blessed that Larry Douglas, who had helped in the past, has stepped up to do even more.”
    Bartlow said that some bands will be coming from Oklahoma and Missouri, and some younger bands will be participating this year.
    “We’re going to have a great mix of music,” he said.
    Douglas said that he’s heard from people in Oklahoma who plan to attend rockfest to hear some of their favorite bands. He predicted the event will draw a healthy crowd into the downtown area.
    “If there are 500 people walking around downtown Pittsburg, I don’t think that will hurt anybody’s feelings,” Douglas said. “I also think it would be wise if some downtown businesses considered staying open a little later than usual.”
    Bartlow noted that the event definitely works well with the aim of revitalizing the downtown area, and is also just a day after the Pittsburg Art Walk, scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.
    “Some of the bands that will be in rockfest will also play during the art walk,” Douglas said. “Some of the musicians are going to be playing three shows. Everything here is donated — the venues, musicians, sound and prizes. A lot of businesses have donated prizes, and we’ll have drawings where the winner must be present, as well as some where the winner doesn’t have to be at the drawing.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Numerous volunteers will be assisting with the rockfest. Bartlow said that the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals will be providing many of the volunteers, along with other persons committed to providing the community with a public July 4 fireworks display.
    Douglas volunteered his wife, Natalie, to design the rockfest T-shirts, and said that she’s already started thinking about the design for  Rockfest V.
    “This is definitely a group effort,” Bartlow said. “It’s kind of neat to bring everybody together.”
    He added that musicians tend to be a close-knit group anyway.
    “We’re all brothers, with some sisters in there,” Bartlow said.
    The annual fireworks display usually costs around $20,000, which includes donations from numerous sources. Bartlow said he hesitates to give a money goal for rockfest.
    “We have raised over $4,000 with this event, and I’d be thrilled if we got $4,000 this time,” he said.
    “Somebody asked me how much I wanted to raise, and I said a buck more than last year,” Douglas said.
    Big Bang Rockfest IV is being sponsored in party by Eagle Beverage, Jock’s Nitch, LDF Companies, Pittcraft  Printing and the Pittsburg Area Young Professionals.
    Bands are scheduled to perform at the following venues: Club 505, Among the Lost, Tailgatorz, Grabbag Union, AZIZ, 33 1/3, Area 51 and Smoot Mahuti; Danny Bell’s Wild West, Super Rats, Tite Lips, Sextonic Plates, Rusty and the Thrusters, Rusty Knight and the Daze, Mister X and Willie & the Po’ Boyz; Fifth Street Bar & Grill, Larry Fleury, the J3 Trio, Holly Reed &  Friends, Middle Coast and the Wayward Bettys; and JST Bobby G’s, Chase Robinson, Gino Geblin, Clean Slate, Alex Scimeca and the Shane Duling Band.
    Any schedule updates can be found by looking for Big Bang Rockfest on Facebook.
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