People’s Choice Festival musical lineup | Center County Gazette

While the People’s Choice Festival is known for its art vendors, it’s also filled with a wide variety of music performances held from Thursday through Sunday.

Head to the South Stage for all things entertainment at People’s Choice this year.

The first day of the festival, Thursday 11 July, will feature six different performances:

Group Therapy – 10:30am

Originally formed by Jon Bojan, Maggie Davis, Jim Herbert and Joe Pelick, Group Therapy has gained a reputation in Center County over the past three years for its diverse musical style, which includes Americana, bluegrass, contemporary country pop and folk rock. The band gained recognition after winning first place in Happy Valley’s Got Talent Show in 2016. Most recently, the band has played at several local festivals, including the Lemont Strawberry Festival and the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts.

Currently, Group Therapy features Eva George on keyboards, rhythm guitar, hand percussion and vocals; Jim Herbert on rhythm guitar and vocals; Joe Pelick on drums; and Charlie Rury on fiddle, banjo, ukulele and vocals.

Stars in Sapphire — at

Stars in Sapphire is a pop/rock band from central Pennsylvania. The band consists of four former Penn State music students and features Bernadette Bratina as lead singer. The band made waves after a performance at THON 2024, playing songs by Stevie Nicks, Dua Lipa, ABBA, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and more.

In March of this year, Stars in Sapphire released the single “Illuminate”, which can be streamed on Spotify.

Western Range — 1:30 p.m

If you like a Southern sound to your music, this band, which “performs authentic toe-tapping Texas Swing, Honky Tonk and Vintage Rock,” according to its website, is a must-see. Western Range features Susan Chiovarou as vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Mac Himes as lead guitarist, Kyle Haust on drums and Phil Burlingame on bass.

The band has made a name for itself performing around central Pennsylvania at various taverns, brewpubs, music festivals and events. Western Range specializes in “harmony vocals, foot-tapping rhythms and guitar solos,” according to its website. The band performs songs by Loretta Lynn, June Carter, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley and more.

The Dance Loft — 3 p.m

Hailing from Altoona, The Dance Loft is an elite dance program that offers classes in a variety of dance styles for children ages 2 to 18. It is owned by Mackenzie Counterman, who established the company at age 22 in 2019. Students from The Dance Loft have performed at Bryce Jordan Center, Petersen Events Center, Saint Francis University, Altoona Curve and more. They will continue their performance at the People’s Choice Festival.

Code Blue — 4:30 p.m

Code Blue debuted in the 90s performing a range of blues and soul covers and original songs. The band includes Terri Parker on vocals, Chris Younken on guitar, Harry Werner on bass, Jerry Zolten on guitar and John Raiser on drums.

Code Blue has toured regionally and performed in shows with the likes of Otis Clay and Billy Price in Pittsburgh, Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band in Lancaster, and Al Green in Philadelphia.

U245 “Tribute to U2” — 6:30 p.m

Fans of rock band U2 won’t want to miss U245’s tribute to the original band. Based out of Pittsburgh, the band likes to put on shows that “focus on the songs, notes and sounds that make U2’s music so enduring,” according to their site.

The festival’s second day, Friday, July 12, has another impressive lineup of six shows, including:

State College Rock Camp — 10:30 A.M

State College Rock Camp is a summer program for local music students who want to learn about music composition, arranging, improvisation and playing in a group. It was started in 2010 and has since grown to include songwriting, studio recording and production elements, as well as public concert performances. One of these performances will be during this year’s People’s Choice Festival.

Jeff Gibble, Zeb Crews & Zach Humphreys — at

Jeff Gibble is an electric and acoustic progressive rock and jazz fusion guitarist, according to his site. The trio has played shows around Center County and throughout central Pennsylvania.

JR Mangan Band with Veronica — 1:30 p.m

JR Mangan has been part of the Center County music scene since 1984, performing at a wide variety of venues and festivals over the years. Mangan and Veronica Auger teamed up with band members Mark Toce on guitar, Jason Ebersole on bass and vocals, and John Lynch on drums and vocals. They perform a series of classic rock songs.

The Make Mine Country Band — 3 p.m

Five artists from central Pennsylvania make up The Make Mine Country Band, which is known for its country sound, upbeat rock and roll hits, bluegrass tunes and some classic blues, heavy metal and punk tunes. It features Jim Wilson on pedal steel guitar and vocals, Shelby Nestler on rhythm guitar and vocals, Jody Shover on drums, Pat Aumiller on lead guitar and vocals, and Curt Nealman on bass and vocals.

The Make Mine Country Band has performed not only around Pennsylvania, but also on Broadway in Nashville, in West Virginia and more.

The Deacons of Dixieland — 4:30 p.m

The Deacons of Dixieland are a seven-piece traditional jazz band from central Pennsylvania. The band plays traditional Dixieland music in addition to blues, waltzes, polkas and country-western songs. The band has been performing since 1988 in central Pennsylvania.

Joe Bonson and Coffee Run “Tribute to George Jones” — 6:30 p.m

Joe Bonson and the Coffee Run “keep the tradition of country and gospel alive in Pennsylvania,” according to their website. Bonson has been singing country music all his life, but the band has been performing together for more than 20 years.

The band consists of drums, bass, acoustic, lead, steel, violin and vocals. The band has an album titled “Love Train” which contains a number of unique country and gospel inspired songs.

The third day of the festival, Saturday, July 13, features six more performances, some of which the audience may recognize from the TV show “The Voice.”

Free range – 10:30am

This central Pennsylvania cover band plays a range of classic songs, including everything from Janis Joplin to Nora Jones, U2 and Post Malone, according to its site. It features Doug Arnold, Steve McDonald, Janet Mylin and Tom Vella, covering a range of two guitars, drums and vocals. “We love to play good songs,” noted the band’s website.

Caryn Dixon — at

Caryn Dixon is an Americana/country artist who divides her time between central Pennsylvania and Nashville. She has written for American Idol competitions and has had songs placed in both television shows and movies. She recently released her single, “Here I Am”, which can be streamed across all streaming platforms before the festival.

A Rock Show — 1:30 p.m

Don’t go to this event expecting classical, blues or country music. As the name suggests, this band puts on a rock show filled with fan favorites. The band has performed all over Center County and beyond. The band’s Facebook page notes that the idea for the band was formed in 2020.

Chiz Rides – 3 p.m

Chiz Rider is a ministry band that aims to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through music. “We never approach any concert with our own agenda, but with an open heart to serve God first and then the congregation for which we play,” their website states.

Jimmy Mowery (as seen on “The Voice”) – 4:30 p.m

Hailing from Altoona, Jimmy Mowery is a self-taught guitarist. In 2019, Mowery competed on the musical competition show “The Voice”, where he placed in the top 24 and worked with Adam Levine and John Legend during the show. He now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with his wife, Heather, and plays around 200 shows a year, one of which will be at the People’s Choice Festival.

Radio Petty and the Chart Toppers “Tribute to Tom Petty” — 6:30 p.m

Tom Petty fans will enjoy this tribute performance by Pittsburgh-based band Radio Petty and the Chart Toppers — also known as Petty 45. The band “focuses on the songs, tones and sounds that make Tom Petty’s music so enduring,” according to its website .

The final day of the festival will feature three performances and a church service. On Sunday, July 14, the Center Hall Council of Churches will hold a service, followed by three different bands.

Kick the Footlights — at

Kick the Footlights features Larry Boggess and Steve Hinckley, playing classic country music from the 50’s to the 80’s. The duo is known for performing pieces by music legends such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Willy Nelson, Loretta Lynn and more.

The Coal Aly Band — 1:30 p.m

Based in State College, this cover band includes three singers and a five-piece horn section. While the band covers a wide range of music, including Motown, funk, rhythm and blues and rock and roll, from the 60s to the present day, the band’s website notes songs by Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, ABBA and Amy Winehouse as some of the best the hits they like to perform.

Joy Marie and the Gill Street Band — 3 p.m

This central Pennsylvania band is a nine piece band that plays classic funk, soul and R&B music. The band has made the rounds at Pine Grove Hall, Elk Creek Café, First Friday and more. Close the festival by enjoying the sounds of Joy Marie and the Gill Street Band.

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