This weekend, Bristol Riverside Theater’s William Penn Bank Summer Music Fest returns with a local favorite—and that’s just the start for 2022.
“We’re building on the success from last year’s William Penn Bank Summer Music Fest with bigger and more recognizable acts,” explains BRT Co-Producing Director Ken Kaissar in a statement. “Our goal is to welcome more people to the big party in the park at the Bristol Township Amphitheater. We’ll also be selling wine and beer at every concert, so you’ll be able to reconnect with this incredible music while relaxing with a few drinks under the summer stars. It’s going to be a huge summer-long party and everyone is invited.”
On the 15th, The Commodores—local favorite Motown and R&B / funk artists—will kick off the seasonal event, and Philadelphia’s own Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics with special guest Eddie Holman are all set to perform the following day on the 16th.
Making up The Commodores is Walter “Clyde” Orange, James Dean “JD” Nicholas and William “WAK” King, and audiences can hear a bevy of their greatest hits while at the showcase including “Brick House,” “Easy,” “Nightshift” and “Three Times a Lady.” In total, The Commodores went on to sell over 60 million records for Motown, and for five decades, they have remained a force in the music industry.
Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics on the other hand gained international fame and recognition with hits such as “Betcha by Golly Wow,” “You Make Me Feel Brand New,” and “You Are Everything”. And Eddie Holman is best known for his 1970 hit songs “Hey There Lonely Girl,” “This Can’t be True,” and “Cathy Called.”
“When I invited them to play our amphitheater in Bristol Township, they jumped at the chance,” continued Kaissar when talking about this Saturday’s performance. “They love playing for local audiences. Everyone says to me, “Why do I know Eddie Holman?” This always gives me the excuse to sing, “Hey There, Lonely Girl.” That’s when everyone has their AHA moment.
The Commodores performance will kick off on Friday at 8 p.m. (tickets range from $35-$75), while Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics’ performance will begin at 7 p.m. (tickets range from the same price points as the night before.)
Bristol Riverside Theatre’s William Penn Bank Summer Music Fest continues on next month and beyond as well with the the Grammy-winning duo the Indigo Girls on Aug. 25, a throwback event on Aug. 26, and Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone throughout the second weekend of September.
It’s a lot to look forward to, according to Kaisser, especially when it comes to the Indigo Girls.
“They don’t like to book any old gig, they enjoy making a difference by playing for communities that really need and appreciate them,” said Kaissar. “I explained some of the challenges that Bristol and the surrounding areas have faced in the last few years and they wanted to come perform for us. They chose to give us an exclusive concert over other venues in the area that really wanted them. We’re very excited to present the Indigo Girls. As artists, they’re spectacular, but as human beings, they’re even more incredible.”
For now, Philadelphians can find more information about everything Bristol Riverside Theater has going on this summer season online (including their self-produced concerts series which span the “Golden Oldies” and “Classic Broadway”.) For those traditional shows, stay tuned for announcements that will include performers and songs.
“It’s going to be a killer summer,” said Kaissar. “It’s the kind of lift that we all need. Good music, good drinks and a great night out.”
For information on Bristol Riverside Theater (120 Radcliffe St.,) visit brtstage.org