WILKES-BARRE — When a parking spot is hard to come by around Kirby Park, something big must be going on.
Music, food, sunshine and more music brought hundreds of people to the MayDay Music Festival on Saturday.
Austin Callman filled an hour-long slot on the Freedom Stage, one of six venues spread throughout the park for the more than 100 acts performing over the weekend. The free festival continues today and runs from noon to 10 p.m.
Callman who DJs as Rawstin popped in and out of the tent where his laptop and equipment were located and dance music blared from speakers placed in front of the set up. He said he got into the business a few years ago and works mainly in the Philadelphia area.
Like the other performers he volunteered his time and returned for another go.
“I did this last year. It was a lot of fun,” Callman said.
Across the green space of the park people tossed Frisbees, walked their dogs, bought food and merchandise from vendors and a group did yoga in the late day sun. They also gathered at the various venues.
“Everywhere you go there’s different music,” said Leesa Colòn of Sector One Entertainment, which puts on the show.
Throughout the year they hold “Mayday warmups” to raise funds and solicit sponsorships, she said.
It started small seven years ago and has “grown exponentially,” Colòn said.
Proceeds from the Memorial Day weekend event “stay local” with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard 109th Field Artillery, whose armory sits opposite the park. “It goes right to the Family Readiness Group,” Colòn said.
Joe Fortune, who said he was a U.S. Navy veteran living in the housing program run by the Wilkes-Barre Veterans Affairs Medical Center, staked out a patch of grass to place a blanket near the Main Stage at the pavilion where Soul Shadows played.
Fortune was pleased that the event was drug and alcohol free. The weather was a plus too. “It turned out to be nice,” he said.
Jennie Lee Alleggretto of Hazleton set up a table with her artwork next to artist Tom Sorresso whose spray-painted pieces were spread out across several blankets.
Allegretto who works in acrylic, ink and spray paint handed out custom painted guitar picks for her Jenuine Design studio. They substitute for business cards and have her phone number on them.
“People have been coming by. They’re really interested,” she said. For a donation, she handed out her work that fit into the weekend.
“All of my stuff is musically inspired,” she said.