Local station teams with Penn State for Afterfest

Four years ago, following the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, riots broke out in State College. After the riots took place, WGMR radio (Revolution 101), a station licensed to Tyrone and the students of Penn State University got together to create Afterfest.
“We did this to give people something to do following the Arts Festival and stay off the streets,” said Ted Swanson, WGMR General Manager. “We present an alcohol free show that lasts most of the late night to give people a safe atmosphere to continue to have fun.”
The free show on the Penn State Hub Lawn had drew nearly 5,000 people.
“It takes a good partnership to make this event successful,” said Swanson. “The Blue and White Society, Penn State Student Government, Late Night Penn State and corporate sponsors Student Book Store and Penn State Book Store helped fund this event. This year was successful and we were pleased with the attendance for the show.”
Afterfest presented three bands, Axum, SR-71 and Sister Hazel.
The headliners were a band based in Gainesville, Fla., and enjoyed playing the free late night show.
Mark Trojanowski, the drummer for Sister Hazel, enjoys playing these free shows.
“As a band, we believe in doing a lot of charity events,” said Trojanowski. “The Afterfest organizers contacted our booking agent and here we are. We haven’t played at 1:30 a.m. for a long time, but it was a great time.”
“It was a lot like playing at home in Gainesville,” said lead singer Ken Block. “We’re from a college town and love playing these kind of events. We were on a two-week break from touring and got the call about this event and we were glad to come and play in State College. We had a good time playing State College with the Allman Brothers in 1998 and coming back to play was something we wanted to do.”
After the performances of Axum and SR-71, Sister Hazel played for nearly two hours with music from the band’s four compact discs that have been released and covers of Bad Company and the Police.
“We try to play differently than we do on the CDs,” said Trojanowski. “There is always more energy when you play live because you can feel the crowd and how much they enjoy the show. We have a good mix of all four records and take the people on a diverse musical journey during the show.”
Sister Hazel had the number one song on the Adult Contemporary charts for the year 1997 “All for You.”
It wasn’t just a concert, but an avenue of fun on the HUB lawn. There was pugil stick fighting and people dressed in sumo wrestling suits and many more ways to have fun.
“We put together a good lineup for the evening and the show went well,” said Swanson. “We are ready to start planning for next year to make Afterfest 2004 even bigger and better than this one.”
Afterfest, a cooperative effort between the Penn State University and a local radio station to bring students and the people visiting State College for the Arts Festival together in a safe and alcohol free atmosphere.