Thousands of local and regional music fans are ready to turn out on Saturday for arguably Pleasantville’s biggest day of the year.
The Pleasantville Music Festival, with its customary mid-July spot on the calendar, returns for the 15th year, featuring nine hours of great music, family-friendly activities, food and vendors, all with a decided local flavor at Parkway Field at 48 Marble Ave. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the music is scheduled to start at noon.
This year, 18 bands and performers on three different stages will entertain the masses, led by 1990s alternative rock bands Everclear and Soul Asylum along with Aimee Mann on the Main Stage.
“We all look forward to it. It’s one of the great days of the year,” said Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer. “We always have a little bit of trepidation that everything gets pulled off. I think we have a great lineup, a great cadre of managers and volunteers and a pretty solid advance sale. So we’re feeling good about that.”
Pulling off the event takes a team effort from nearly all of the village’s departments and an army of volunteers to help set up for the day and assist the crowds once the gates open, said Bruce Figler, the festival’s executive director.
Figler said he and the other organizers have tried to entice the public to buy their tickets early by offering discounts. When tickets first went on sale, the price for adults was $50. Last Friday, the tickets jumped to $60 and if you wait until Saturday to buy them it will be $65. Seniors (65 and up) and students (12 to 21 years old) get in for $30 before Saturday and $35 at the door. Children under 12 years old are admitted for free with a ticket-holding adult.
“It’s working. We’re doing very well and we do better pre-sales every year,” Figler said. “It looks like a very good year if the weather holds up. At the end of the day, even though we’ve eaten into those people who wait till the last minute, they are still a very sizeable part of our audience.”
Despite all the preparation, weather, of course, can wreck any plan. But as of Monday, organizers even had that on their side. The five-day forecast called for sunny skies with a high of 87 degrees, according to weather.com.
Superintendent of Public Works Jeff Econom said as this week progresses the work will ramp up. By Wednesday, Parkway Field’s grass will be cut and the spots for the food and merchandise vendors, the stages and the tents will be marked off. Delivery of the backstage tent, the chill tent and the shade tent are scheduled to arrive by Thursday. The stages are expected by Friday morning.
“So we’re trying not to be a bunch of busy bees on Friday,” Econom said. “We’re trying to space it out a little more so it will be a little more organized chaos.”
DPW staff and volunteers will clean up Saturday night and the equipment will be taken away by Sunday, he said.
Once again, the festival will emphasize environmentally-friendly practices. Volunteers will help the crowd separate trash, recyclables, food scraps and other compostable items, Scherer said. Festival-goers are also asked to bring a refillable cup or bottle to take advantage of the water stations that will be set up to provide free cold water, he said.
Figler said heading into the final week the festival could use more volunteers. Anyone interested in helping out can visit www.pleasantvillemusicfestival.com and click on the volunteer tab at the top of the screen. In recent years, they’ve needed close to 200 volunteers, he said.
“We’re doing a lot more so we need more people,” Figler said. “The attendance has doubled and so has the need for manpower.”
Scherer said he’s looking forward to another great day of music and for Pleasantville to put on a great show.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “I have often said, and probably won’t stop saying, it’s too big for us to do and too good not to do it.”
For the complete list of performers, the performance schedule on each of the three stages, tickets and general information, visit www.pleasantvillemusicfestival.com.