Free concerts rock Macker tonight

By Noel deCordova

Sun Staff Intern

NORWICH – This year, for the first time, the Chenango County Blues Association will be teaming up with Gus Macker to provide a night packed with entertainment. Unlike previous years, when the free blues shows in the park had been scheduled after the popular basketball tournament, this weekend will see the debut of both.

Dub State will play its brand of rebel reggae music from 4:30 until 6 p.m. Saturday in front of the courthouse, and Ithaca’s Mutron Warriors will bring their funk and afrobeat rhythms to the stage from 7:15 on.  

“It’s the first time we’ve done this, but it’s sure to provide attention to both events,” said Eric Larsen, President of the Chenango County Blues Association, about the decision.

“I’m very excited to partner up with the Chenango County Blues Festival,” said Tom Revoir, director of sports at the Norwich YMCA. “This is a great way to add another venue to the Macker, especially for those spectators who don’t come to watch the basketball.”

Gus Macker has been a part of Norwich for 14 years and is marked on the calendars of many, having drawn 1,700 players (to say nothing of the spectators) to the roadside courts last year.

The Blues Festival, also a longstanding facet of a Norwich summer, has offered several free shows in the weeks prior to the festival for years. According to Larsen, Saturday night’s performers Dub State and Mutron Warriors are “youth oriented bands.”

“I would say that people should get ready to dance,” said Mutron Warriors frontman Brian Mlodzinski, known as DJ Gourd, about his band’s music. “We will hit the stage with uptempo funk, soul, and afrobeat from start to finish.”

Apart from the Macker weekend show, musical artists Donna Jean Godchaux, Webb Wilder, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, and Tab Benoit will be performing in the park this July and August.

Added Pat Dietrich, a Chenango Blues Association spokesperson, “It’s a great opportunity for everyone in the community to come downtown and enjoy some wonderful musicians from around the conutry, and it won’t cost a cent. Grab some dinner from local restaurants or bring down a picnic and make an evening out of it.”

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