Niagara Gazette

February 25, 2014

Lewiston Pubfest organizers eye Artpark for this year's event

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

Pubfest is going to need a brand new venue to handle the size organizer Ken Scibetta thinks he needs to handle his crowd. Lucky for him, the amphitheater at Artpark is available the weekend he wanted.

The bigger space, established to handle concerts by bands like ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, will go a long way towards improving the quality of bands the three-day festival will draw, he said.

"We're going to be ginormous this year," Scibetta said moments after announcing the venue change on the event's Facebook page.

As far as who the talent will be come Friday, June 13 – the first of the three days this year – Scibetta said details are still being figured out. But he did hint at what to expect.

For starters, he's hoping to find a high-profile country act to take the stage as headliner Sunday, June 15. He's also looking to continue the recent run Pubfest has established on Canadian rock talent taking the stage headlining one of the other nights. A third headliner, Scibetta said, could come from a 1990s rock outfit.

Trying to capitalize on a shift in focus from a carnival-like atmosphere to strictly live music, as well as a date change sliding earlier on the calendar than usual, last year's Pubfest brought Toronto-based acts The Trews and Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker – otherwise known as USS – to Lewiston's Academy Park to raise money for The Variety Kids Telethon, a charitable organization near and dear to Scibetta's heart, along with the Village of Lewiston and first responders in the area. Unfortunately, rain soaked the stage and few hearty souls willing to see the two draws in a deluge.

So Scibetta shifted back to his normal weekend in mid-June in an effort to find some of the weather karma the festival experienced in its first few years.

"We're moving it back to its original weekend," Scibetta said. " Last year was pretty tough with the rain, but we've had good weather every single year we've had it on these dates. So we hope we have a nice weekend and we can raise a ton of money for charity."

This year's Pubfest beneficiaries also changed slightly. Scibetta said the bulk of the money the event raises will still be given to The Variety Kids Telethon, which provides "aid and service to children the sick, the handicapped and the underprivileged," according to its website, www.varietykidstelethon.com. But instead of the Village of Lewiston receiving a small donation, the money will instead go to state parks. Lewiston Fire Co. No. 1 will also receive a donation, Scibetta said.

Like talent, pricing for admission is still being determined, though Scibetta said he's confident general admission will cost concertgoers $5 each day. Special "front of stage" passes, VIP box sponsorships and weekend passes – with admission to all three days of concerts – will also be available, he added.

More information about Pubfest 2014 will be released online at www.lewistonvillagepubfest.com as details are finalized.