Matt Schickling, the Wire
Summer brings with it nostalgia, and with nostalgia comes music.
Bensalem Township and TD Bank Amphitheater are putting on their 16th annual summer concert series. The lineup consists of acts paying tribute to a wide range of genres and bands including The Eagles, The Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen.
Organizers upped the ante this year, putting together a lineup of acts that appeal to the tastes of the community, both young and old. Dawn Davis, manager of community affairs for Bensalem, has spent the year looking into attendance from previous seasons and linking up with supporters on social media to gauge which acts will bring the best turnout.
“We only have twelve shots at getting this right,” Davis said. “These guys are the real deal.”
If season pass sales are any indication, the community responded by nearly doubling the previous year, from 260 purchases in 2014 to over 500 this year. The passes go for $35 apiece, and considering individual general admission tickets are $6 per show, if a person plans to go to all 12 concerts, that’s a savings of $37.
This year, the ticket office took a look at demographics of season pass buyers and found that many plan to travel over 45 minutes to each concert.
“We get more people that are not from Bensalem,” Davis said.
That probably has a lot to do with the talent brought in this year. Who’s Bad, a Michael Jackson tribute band, performs on June 3 for the opening night. They recently played the Keswick Theatre, where tickets cost between $35 and $60. In that respect, the concerts are maximizing bang for buck.
“When you see this band perform, you just really think it’s Michael Jackson,” Davis said.
“He’s got the band, the moves.”
Davis said that it costs up to $9,000 to book some of these bands, and, at that level, the talent rises far above the typical bar band.
“I give everyone a shot, you just have to be really good. We sent out 146 rejection letters this year,” Davis said. “It’s a testament to the venue.”
Davis expects bands like Who’s Bad, Simply Sinatra and Philbilly, a country act, to bring out the most people. For opening night, she’s predicting that about 2,500 people will show up.
“We’re held hostage by the weather,” she said. “If the weather is beautiful, we’re going to be jamming here on Wednesday night.”
There will also be food vendors. New this year are Philly’s Finest Sambonis and the Meat Wagon, a Hatboro barbeque favorite.
Season pass holders will also have special perks. They are allowed to enter the venue at 5:30 instead of 6 p.m., and the first 100 pass-holders on the first night will be given a beach towel from TD Bank.
Davis recommends bringing chairs, blankets and towels to sit on and food and beverages. Alcohol and pets are not permitted, and there is an isolated smoking area.
“We have a really good crowd here. It’s the songs you remember, it takes you back,” Davis said. “It’s nostalgic, good music from back in the day.”
The first summer series concert takes place on June 3 at 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Amphitheater, 2400 Byberry Road, in Bensalem. General admission tickets are $6, seniors are $3 and children under 12 are free. Season passes cost $35. For information, tickets and a list of performers, visit www.tdbankamphitheater.com.