LEWISTON – The Summer of ’69 Annual Rock and Roll Reunion will be celebrating its 10th year of bringing home Lewiston-area musicians from the 1960s at 6 p.m. July 11 at the Hennepin Park Gazebo, Fourth and Center streets.
Most of these rockers and former hippies have moved on to more respectable jobs, but for one night they reunite and are inviting everyone to the party. Tie-dyed T-shirts are optional.
Music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s will be featured.
“Between 1965 and 1969, garage bands in Western New York were very popular,” said Frank Fletcher-Broucek, co-chairman of the event and a former member of the band County Orphanage. “There were four of them at least in Lewiston and a reunion concept was started in late 2004 and our first event was in 2005.”
Fletcher-Broucek, a graduate of Bishop Duffy High School who now lives in Chicago, said he no longer plays in the band, but, like many others, will travel across the country to be in the audience for the reunion.
Featured bands include: the Loved Ones, the Invaders, the County Orphanage, and special guest will be Grammy Award winner Gary Baker with the Gary Baker Band. For the finale, all the players will take the take the stage for a final jam.
“We’ve had 20,000 hits on our website, and people come from all over the nation to visit the bands,” he said.
But the Summer of’ ’69 is more than just a rock and roll reunion, it is a three-day event of music, which kicks off July 10 with music at 7 p.m. at the Sunset Grill in Wilson and finishes up at 7 p.m. July 12 at the Stone Jug on Main Street in Youngstown. These events are also open to the public.
It is also a special year and is expected to be larger than ever as Class of 1969 graduates from five area schools celebrate their 45th reunions.
Fletcher-Broucek said the classes from Lewiston-Porter, Niagara Falls, LaSalle, Madonna and Bishop Duffy high schools all plan to attend their event and have all scheduled their reunions around the Summer of ’69 Rock and Roll Reunion.
“We’re pretty happy about that. We provide the party, all you gotta do is pay to come,” said Fletcher-Broucek, referring to airfare and transportation. “It’s a good party and everybody looks forward to it.”
The music is free, but this year organizers are asking for cash donations to benefit the Care and Share Food Pantry of Ransomville, which benefits needy families in the towns of Porter, Wilson, Lewiston, Youngstown and Sanborn. Musicians are asking people to donate $10 to the pantry and each person will get a sticker reading “We Care at the Summer of ’69” to wear.
“There’s a lot of need in Niagara County and we have invited them to come and set up a tent,” Fletcher-Broucek said. “I hope people come with money in their pocket and are able to share.”
Other event co-chairs are: Kathi Hines of South Carolina; Debbie Greathouse of Lewiston; Susan Burns of Georgia; and Stacey Allen of Florida.
The Summer of’ ’69 is sponsored by the Lewiston Council on the Arts and is coordinated by Eva Nicklas, the council’s artistic director, and Tim Walton from Idaho.