Ephrata Elks host Summer Music Fest July 27

By on July 17, 2019

The Ephrata Elks Lodge sits a short distance away from downtown Ephrata. The Lodge on Akron Road is nestled among a normally quiet, green lot of 17 acres where pet owners walk dogs, kids play and families or groups rent pavilions for gatherings.

Christina Saez hopes to change all that on July 27 when the Elks host their first Summer Music Fest.

Planning for the Music Fest started last year following an outdoor concert that went unexpectedly well.

“We had an AC/DC tribute band (called Back in Black) here last June,” explained Saez. “We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We had an opening band, but we knew Back in Black had a big following. It ended up being an awesome concert. We had almost 300 people here. I stood here and I saw the potential.”

Realizing the potential needed several levels of support, starting with the club. Saez started by pitching the idea to the Lodges’ Exalted Ruler at the time, Joe Klepchick.

“I asked my boss. They just said, ‘Go ahead (and) do it.’”

Following the approval, Saez began recruiting local music groups.

“The first band I approached was Crackerboxx,” said Saez. “Jeff — who is a member of Crackerboxx — was here the day of the Back in Black concert last year. I said, ‘What do you think?’

He said, ‘Absolutely, and Crackerboxx wants to be a part of it.”

Crackerboxx isn’t the only band who has played at the Elks prior to the concert that liked the idea.

“Copper Sky (was) here last year and they did a really great job,” said Saez. “They fit with the genre.”

Heather Vidal of Copper Sky likes the format and agreed to start off the concert.

“I think it’s great that they are having their first summer music fest,” said Vidal. “It’s a nice venue to have one with the picnic tables and the cook-out. It should be fun.”

Copper Sky fans know they rarely bring a set list to a performance and Saturday will not be different.

“We never plan anything,” said Vidal. “We’re just going to do Copper Sky music: some classic rock, Beatles, Adele, Alanis Morissette, Bonnie Raitt, a little bit of country and a little bit of blues. It’s going to be a variety of music.”

As the line-up took shape, Saez began to seek bands with a mix of different styles.

“It kind of grew from there. I brainstormed on bands that would be a good mix to get different (genres). We have Fast Lane, which is Country Music. Perfect Strangers is our last band. They draw in a younger crowd and play more recent music. Crackerboxx is just a really good, well-known band around this area. They are a cover band and do mostly 80s music, early 90s.”

According to Saez, the band Miss T and the Mosquitos has generated the most interest and was suggested by the current Exalted Ruler.

“Jeff (Ellsworth) really wanted me to reach out them and see if they would be interested. We seem to be getting a lot of buzz on them because people have not seen them perform in a long time.”
Randy Martin from Miss T said playing the concert was an easy decision.

“We’re a bunch of Ephrata guys,” explained Martin. “This is our 25th anniversary. (We have) some family and friends who haven’t seen us for a long time and wanted to give them the opportunity to see us at home. That was our biggest motivation, to have a perhaps last hurrah in the place it all started 25 years ago.”

“It’s going to a mix of Tommy Castro, Delbert McClinton… basically, just some good dancing, house rocking party.” Miss T, Copper Sky and the other bands will play their set and rotate performances on three stages with KDW, a professional company, running the sound equipment.

“(The bands) will be coming in and playing about 70 minutes with no breaks,” explained Saez. “If you come to see Ghost Light Radio Show, you’re going to get 70 to 80 minutes straight and that’s how all seven bands are going to be. While one band is playing, another band will be getting ready on (the next) stage. The idea is that between each band, there should only be a ten minute break.”
The Music Fest will support the Lodge, its charitable programs and a military aid organization named Keystone Military.

“We’re looking to have a great financial success because a portion of the proceeds will go back to them. They are going to be here that day (to) let people know about their organization. They have a big Christmas campaign called Stockings for Soldiers. They send stockings to US troops overseas. They are going to selling their stocking for five dollars and you get to write a personal message to a soldier. They are launching that here and a portion of our proceeds will go back to them.”

“Keystone Military Families is based out of Shoemakersville,” explained Saez. “They help any vet in the State of Pennsylvania. You can go to their pantry and get food for the whole week.”
The Elks’ portion of the revenue will help support local organizations as well as provide upkeep for the building and grounds.

“The more money we raise, the more we can help the community,” explained Saez. “We gave $7,000 out to the community last year, $1,000 each to seven local fire companies. We give a lot of money to the Ephrata schools, the Marching Band (and) the Soccer Booster Club. We donate to the Special Olympics. We help out where we can.”

“It’s not just to help the community,” continued Saez. “We’re on 17 acres. It costs a lot of money. This is an old building. The banquet hall upstairs needs a little work. It’s a lot to maintain.”
Despite the success of the first Back in Black concert and a second one in June, Saez realizes the risk involved in staging a concert on potential and not past experience. She knows it can be big but still….

“It’s a big gamble. I’m nervous as heck right now. This has been my idea, my baby for the last year. Almost every day, I’ve done something to make sure this day is a success.”

“It’s kind of a crazy idea for this area, I know. July 27 is like Christmas to me. I can’t wait for it to get here and see this vision I’ve had for almost a year come to life.”

One Comment

  1. Kate Ruth

    July 17, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    I believe it will be a fabulous event 🙂 I’m looking forward to it. And I’m also selling tickets for the event – whole day and half day!

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