Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The 14th Annual Freedom Festival

The town of East Stroudsburg, PA and the population of its surrounding communities joined together in the Dansbury Park to celebrate the Independence Day holiday during a three day 14th Annual American Freedom Festival which was presented by The Eastburg Community Alliance and took place from July 3rd to the 5th. The holiday commemorates a resolution 2nd Continental Congress voted on July 2nd, 1776 to approve declaring the North American Colonies' independence from their mother country Great Britain with whom they were engaged in a Revolutionary War. The passage of the resolution led to the formation of a Committee headed by Thomas Jefferson to write a document explaining why the resolution was necessary. The wording of the document was debated and revised until The Declaration of Independence was finally approved upon on July 4th, 1776. The date has since become a National Holiday and it was on this date did I attend the festival.

Although the day experienced overcast skies and intermittent periods of rain showers, my arrival to the park was met by the voice of Katie Rubino who stood upon the festival's main “American Spirit” stage with her guitar and whose countenance and stage presence brought a ray of sunshine to my being. Her gentle and joyful renditions of the compositions she shared provided a delightful wandering through their melodies. Ms. Rubino also shared an original piece which not only proved to be equal in quality to the established work she presented but also surpassed their memorable qualities and meaningfulness. You can learn more about Katie Rubino and her music by exploring her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Katie-Rubino/671949426269618?fref=ts or her Website at www.katierubino.com.

It was after Ms. Rubino's performance did I choose to wander around the park in order to partake of the many offerings the vendors had available that day. These included merchants such as Magic Baskets who created decorative designs which could be unfolded to reveal a functional basket and Shady River Designs www.facebook.com/shadyriverdesigns?fref=ts whose tie dyed apparel filled the eye with their psychedelic color schemes. There were also a number of artists sharing their talents along with pony rides and political organizations sharing information about the candidates running for local, state, and national positions. In addition to this, food was available through a number of vendors which included Just Good Food www.facebook.com/pages/Just-good-food/538951186183041 which is a restaurant located in the Eagle Valley Mall in East Stroudsburg, PA serving Caribbean, American, and Vegetarian cuisines as well as the Stroudsburg High School Class of 2016 www.facebook.com/strouds16?fref=ts whose familiar cuisine was served at prices the average citizen of Monroe County could easily afford.

As I made my way back to the main stage, The Harlan Tucker Band was finishing their preparations before performing their hard hitting interpretations of numerous songs from the Country, Rock, and Blues musical genres. The band consists of Rita Tucker on vocals, harmonicas, and hand held percussions, Harlan Fitzpatric on guitars and vocals, Van Kamberos on bass and vocals, Donald C Petersen on Drums and Percussion, and Alan Ruprecht on guitars, fiddle, keys. Sax, mandolin, and banjo. The crowd pleasing music along with vocals that would not quit shook the audience through the band's earthquake like performance. You can learn more about The Harlan Tucker Band by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/TheHarlanTuckerBand?fref=ts.

It was after The Harlan Tucker Band concluded their performance did Elisa Chase of The Gary in the Morning Show www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gary-In-The-Morning-Radio-Show-on-Pocono-967-FM/259559440735685?fref=ts which can be found on the Pocono 96.7 FM Frequency www.facebook.com/Pocono967?fref=ts come upon the stage. She welcomed the audience to the festival which led to the introduction of the next performers. Anticipation filled the park as they awaited for the band's preparations and the sound checks to conclude.

Zymotic Flow consists of musicians known by their first names. They are Don on Guitar, Craig on Bass, Alex on Vocals, Dan on Keyboards, and Chauncey on Smash (aka Drums). The hypnotic measures the group employs can be visibly experienced through the back and forth movements the lead singer engages in while offering his spellbinding interpretation to each song. The music flowed among the denizens of the festival creating a mind melding sensation among the community who found themselves in the essence of the compositions that were played. You can learn more about Zymotic Flow by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/pages/Zymotic-Flow/189034351110995?fref=ts.

It was after the Zymotic Flow's performance did I meander around the park to explore more of its festive offerings. I came upon a carnival who offered rides and games of chance to all who visited. It was a joy to watch the faces of the children whose smiles of delights and excitement filled the heart of all who saw them. It was also amusing to witness the adults who partook in the games as some of them won their well sought for prizes while other reverted back to their childhood when they were confronted with the common disappointment of losing.

It was during my adventures did the Country/Southern Rock band known as “Moonshine Wild” performed. The band consists of Gina Giordano on Vocals, Richie Serrano on Rhythm Guitar, Todd Jason on Drums, Steve Bingaman on Lead/Rhythm Guitar, and Rodney Decker on Bass. However, my wanderings resulted in missing their performance but you can learn more about Moonshine Wild by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/moonshinewild?fref=ts.

When I did arrive back at the festival stage, The Catholic Girls were preparing to perform. The audience was filled with anticipation as the iconic band of the 1980's tuned their instruments. The crescendo of the audience's anticipation grew to a fevered pitch until its energies were released through the introduction of the band by magician Mark Mysterio www.facebook.com/pages/Mark-Mysterrio-Fan-site/214042991493?fref=ts who is well known throughout the Pocono Monroe County Area for his ability to delight children of all ages with his illusions and materializations.

The Catholic Girls consists of Gail Petersen on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Roxy Andersen on lead guitar and back-up vocals, Doreen Holmes on drums, and Steve Berger on bass. From the very first vibrations of their soul catching riffs to the powerful delivery of their lyrics through their siren voices, a mass conversion among the festival goers took place as each member of the audience sought to embrace the profound revelations contained in the imagery embodied in each song. The band also accentuated their songs' depth through their varied movements upon the stage that enhanced their energies and mystique. You can learn more about The Catholic Girls by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/TheCatholicGirls or their Website at www.thecatholicgirls.net.

As The Catholic Girls concluded their performance, a number of announcements were made with some sharing the news of children being lost and waiting for their parents at a designated tent. This was followed by a performance given by Jamie Begley who sang the National Anthem of the United States titled, “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a voice that gave each word uttered an unparalleled significance. The anthem’s lyrics is based upon a poem written by Francis Scott Key titled, “Defense of Fort McHenry” which was composed after the bombardment of Fort McHenry located in Baltimore, MD by the British Royal Navy ships during the War of 1812. The poem was set to the tune written by John Stafford Smith which he composed for a British men's social club known as the Anacreontic Society titled, “The Anacreontic Song” (aka “To Anacreon in Heaven”). The song was quite popular in the United States and was officially made its national anthem on March 3rd, 1931 by a congressional resolution.

It was after Ms. Begley's wonderful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner did the evening's fireworks display fill the sky and the imagination of the festival's gathering. The explosive colors and echoing sounds emanating from the missiles touched the clouds whose presence created a canvas upon which a landscape of smoke and sparkling remnants created visual effects that were unique to each viewer. It was after this display did the final band for the evening take the stage.

P. O. W. W. O. W., which is an acronym for Pain of Wisdom In a World of Waste, consists of Tom Dente on Guitar and Vocals, Brian Terraciano on Percussions, and Scott Valenze on Bass Guitar. Their hard hitting fast-paced hardcore punk/metal/blues fusion Eco-Core style epitomizes their aggression towards the ridiculous lifestyle that has led to the developing ecological crisis and industrialism's destructive potential of our planet Earth. The band's appearance as the final performance of the evening proved to be a significant one as their music and message reflected the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy to institute change to the status quo in order to improve the life conditions of not only those residing in the United States but of the entire planet as well. You can learn more about P. O. W. W. O. W. by exploring their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/painofwisdomworldofwaste.

My day spent at the 14
th Annual American Freedom Festival proved to be a great one filled with fantastic music and opportunities to meet new friends and those established during previous festivals. Although I didn't attend the first and final days of the three day festival, I'm sure it was just as enjoyable to those who did so. You’ll be able to see the pictures I took during my day at the festival in The 14th Annual Freedom Festival Gallery at www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154009428873761.1073741865.91146283760&type=3

The Eastburg Community Alliance was established over 30 years ago by local leaders and business owners and is funded through a combination of local grants, direct fund raising, memberships, and local contributions. Besides their annual Freedom Festival, The Eastburg Community Alliance presents a Fall Octoberfest which is scheduled to take place on Saturday October 10
th and Winter Holiday Celebration which is scheduled to take place Saturday December 12th along with their weekly Music on Mondays event. You’ll be able to learn more about The Eastburg Community Alliance by visiting their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/EastburgAlliance or their Website at www.eastburgalliance.com.

Photography by Paparazzi Paul.

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