Jambridge brings live music, beer and community vibes to Merchant Street
AMBRIDGE − Let’s face the obvious: it’s a smart name.
Sure, the organizers of the four-stage Sept. 24 music and beer festival in downtown Ambridge could have gone the over-the-top “-palooza” route, but no, they named their festival “Jambridge.”
Music fans, indeed, will hear sweet jams, with a concert lineup featuring in-demand Pittsburgh rock band NASH.V.ILL, fronted by First Night Pittsburgh headliner Byron Nash. .
Jambridge’s lineup includes Different Places in Space, Shy Birds, River & Root, popular Beaver County blues band Bobby Thompson & the Groove and local cosmic soul band Mean Blue Planets.
The free concert, in the 900 block of Merchant Street, also features Too Hearted, Prosperity Gospel featuring Tucker Muetzel, who opened for The Clarks, and to kick off the music in his hometown, the renowned Ambridge High Steel Drum Band national.
Two outdoor stages will keep the Jambridge music non-stop, while those looking to relax a little indoors can catch a musical number at Fermata Brewing Co. (918 Merchant St.) or the Bridgetown Taphouse (939 Merchant St. .).
Fermata, Ambridge Craft Brewery Altered Genius (411 Merchant), Union Brothers Brewing of Zelienople, Lincoln Brewing of Bellevue and Allegheny City Brewing on the North Side of Pittsburgh will be pouring their special beers at the event.
Jambridge takes place in the middle of this invisible and tangible triangle of creativity and positivity between Bridgetown Taphouse, the Fermata at the cat corners and Fermata’s neighbor, Merchant Coffee Co. It is here that the hashtag #AmbridgeIsCool was born and where partnerships between three community-driven businesses have spawned collaborative beverage and music events.
Jambridge takes these collaborations to a larger scale.
“When we opened the brewery here, talking to the other folks at Bridgetown Taphouse and Merchant Coffee, we immediately knew we wanted to have some kind of event that would be really fun for the community and focused on music and art,” said Jared Tuk, one of Fermata’s founders. “Because we all have a passion for it and we thought it would be something that would bring the community together and deliver a really great event, not just for Ambridge but for the surrounding communities as well.”
From 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Jambridge will take place on Merchant Street, closed to cars from 10th Street to opposite Fermata, with the adjacent side parking lot next to Merchant Coffee open.
A separate beer garden area will feature the five local breweries.
“This is where the music is and it won’t be a cordoned off zone, but a booze-free zone beyond this point to control everything,” Merchant Coffee owner Kim Fabrizio said. “But then it will spill out into an area with food vendors and performers and street magic. We have a magician.”
“And on top of all that, the Taphouse and the Fermata will have indoor stages,” Tuk said. “Small stages that provide an alternative to the big stuff outside, for people who want to come in and see something a little cooler.”
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There will of course be food trucks, two of which have already been confirmed: Little Athens Express and Annie Lee’s Southern Kitchen.
The Taphouse and local pizzerias like Frank’s Pizzeria (618 Duss Ave.) and Pizza House (aka the famous “Police Station Pizza” at 1007 Merchant) are also ready to satisfy appetites.
If all goes according to plan, Jambridge could be Merchant Street’s biggest outdoor event since the old Nationality Days were in full swing.
Although it takes a village.
Local businesses, residents or organizations wishing to help sponsor the event can send sponsorship checks payable to Jambridge Festival Inc., addressed to 922 Merchant St., Ambridge, Pennsylvania, 15003. can be made to [email protected]
A Jambridge website will be ready any day, while Fermata’s Facebook and Instagram sites will continue to provide updates and reminders.
“I think it’s really cool the very day we have this, there’s another event happening in the park which is on the corner of 11th and Merchant,” Fabrizio said. “This event is called the Churches Fall Festival, and it’s been happening around town for a while now. We’re totally unrelated, but we have our festivals at the same time and there’s going to be a lot of traffic in the both ways, and it’s going to be good for everyone.”
Ambridge’s fire chief, council members and the borough superintendent all offered their support.
“We had a lot of help from that side,” Bridgetown Taphouse owner Rick Hendricks said.
Tuk said: “It will be a great partnership with the borough. They provide many services, so everything is going smoothly.”
Fabrizio says Jambridge will share a positive light on the community, “which I think will bring people back into the community. And the more people come back, the more people will learn about what’s here and that will have an effect of training on the community and all the other awesome little businesses that are here.”
Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at [email protected].