‘Bright Side of the Road’ Van Morrison-themed concert benefits charity, local music

The “Bright Side of the Road” charity concert will feature performances by 11 local bands including Hannah Bingman.
The “Bright Side of the Road” charity concert will feature performances by 11 local bands including Hannah Bingman. Photo provided

Van Morrison, known for hits “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Moondance” and “Wild Night,” is the inspiration for this year’s installment of a charity tribute concert.

The “Bright Side of the Road” concert will feature various State College musicians showcasing the music of the Irish-born singer-songwriter.

“This is the fourth year now that I have teamed up with the State Theatre and local musicians to put on a benefit concert,” said organizer and State College musician Jason McIntyre.

This year’s show will benefit Strawberry Fields.

“Every year we have picked an artist and celebrated that artist’s musical catalog,” McIntyre said.

Past shows have featured music by Tom Petty and Neil Young.

“The title of the show, ‘Bright Side Of The Road,’ is one of my favorite Van Morrison songs, and I thought it brought a positive upbeat message that fit the vibe of a benefit concert,” McIntyre said.

“We have a tradition (which we want to grow) of reaching out to other nonprofits in the area to help them mobilize their own constituencies and to raise funds,” said Jay Barlett, the State Theatre’s marketing director. “

In addition helping out a local charity, the concert will benefit local bands by providing them an opportunity for exposure as well as the theater in its mission to provide bands and other artistic groups these opportunities.

“(Some of) the funds we generate from events like ‘Bright Side’ and our other development efforts subsidize the cost of renting the theater’s two spaces (Friedman Auditorium and The Attic) for these groups,” Bartlett said. “On average we can charge them half or less of what we need to charge commercial renters to cover our internal costs. That would not otherwise be possible.”

McIntyre said events like this strengthen the local music community.

“I think it’s great for the music scene. On a personal level, to have all your friends together hanging out, having a good time and listening to each other perform is tops. Everyone is always working so we rarely get to see each other,” McIntyre said. “On a community level, maybe you see someone that you enjoy that you never have heard before, then you go see them and buy their album. That helps us survive; you become part of the engine. ... In return, you see these folks getting more opportunities to perform locally and regionally on a more regular basis.”