PLAINS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — The Mohegan Sun Arena will host outdoor concerts through the summer but possibly none more important than one local benefit.
In partnership with Geisinger, Gallery of Sound and a slew of local musicians, the ‘Come Together’ concert will directly benefit the F.M. Kirby Center, Karl Hall, The Ritz Theater, The Scranton Cultural Center, The Dietrich Theater, and so many more arts and non-profit organizations.
“We had this idea to start doing concerts in the parking lot a few weeks ago,” said Mohegan Sun Arena general manager Will Beekman. “We started putting a few on sale. We have comedian Jim Gaffigan and a Queen tribute coming as well. We figured that same weekend we might as well, while we have all this equipment here. We’ll have the stage and sound and lights, we figured we’d try to do another event as well.”
The idea? Get a tight-knit community of local bands to put on a show in the lot with the proceeds benefitting local venues and programs crippled by the pandemic.
“As a venue we’re incredibly proud to be hosting this but we’re really just a small part of it,” he added. “There’s a lot of people involved in putting it together.”
Big names like Mohegan Sun, Gallery of Sound and Geisinger. Smaller but crucial to the operation like A.J. Jump or Karl Hall.
“It was, at first, sort of a pipe dream and now it’s coming true,” he said.
Fresh from pulling off an online concert series, Jump is helping organize and raise money for the music and arts community. Oh yeah, he’ll also be getting behind the kit to play.
“To bring this idea to life during these interesting times and being creative? I think it’s fantastic,” said Jump. “Everybody involved is extremely excited. And I’ll finally be able to freaking play a gig.”
No small show to boot. 12 bands and a logistical nightmare that Mohegan Sun has been ramping up to and feels ready for. Professional setup. Planning for a safe environment for up to 1,000 cars.
“We’re kind of staging them in a checkerboard fashion to allow for a vacant spaces on each side,” noted Beekman. “We can allow for social distancing so that patrons can get out of their vehicle and utilize that parking space to their right to watch the show.”
On stage, some of the eclectic talent that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre music scene is known for.
Nick Coyle is a big name as a member of the bands ‘Cold’ and one of the headliners of this effort, ‘Lifer.’
“You know I’ve played a lot of shows so, if nothing else, it’s one for the books as far as I’ve never played a show like this before where it’s like a drive-in type of scenario,” he said.
Nick Cuozzo has a long resume in the local scene. His band University Drive had recently finished touring when they wrapped up a national tour with Nick and ‘Cold’.
“It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like. I’m just excited to play in front of people in any capacity,” said Cuozzo. “It’s definitely going to be interesting but I think it’s going to be really cool.”
The driving force behind this unique experience for many? The potential to raise thousands of dollars for the local arts and music community. One big local rock show coming to the aid of a diverse arts scene in northeastern Pennsylvania.
“With something like COVID and how it’s just crashed everything, so many people are suffering. It’s such a crazy situation,” Cuozzo added. “It’s like one beacon of light and I’m happy to be, maybe, one tiny part of that.”
The online box office of Ticketmaster is highly encouraged as the box office on the Mohegan Sun Arena property has limited hours. Here’s the link to get in on the show.