SCRANTON — Community organizations gathered Sunday to raise awareness and funds to help local youths at the inaugural Music, Motors and More festival at the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain.
Brian Fischer, one of the event organizers, said the community groups took advantage of the generosity of the facility’s owners, Live Nation, who donated use of the pavilion, to hold the festival with an overarching goal to promote anti-bullying programs.
The Bridge Youth Services and the Wyoming Valley Children’s Association were involved, he said.
The event included eight musical performers, with The Badlees performing as the final act. They all volunteered their time for the cause. In addition, the Corvette Club of Northeast Pennsylvania brought more than 150 cars and a long list of vendors participated.
A teacher in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, Fischer said bullying is a threat for students that can have “life altering” effects.
“Bullying is a major problem and we have to be ‘hands-on’ with it to stop it,” Fischer said. “It can’t be tolerated,” he said.
Fischer organized car shows at the Solomon Plains Elementary School for years and decided it was time to expand. He said he saw the Toyota Pavilion as the perfect place to do that.
“This is a great place for this type of community event and we plan to make it an annual festival,” he said. He thanked Live Nation for donating the venue and the personnel.
Alan Stout, who works to educate local students through The Bridge Youth Services Anti-Bullying program, stressed anti-bullying programs are becoming increasingly important in area schools.
He said one of the most difficult type of bullying to fight is cyber-bullying, which he called the most “cowardly” type.
“It’s not like in the past where a bully pushed somebody and could get pushed back,” Stout said. “Now bullying is done in complete anonymity and from a distance, where the victim is defenseless,” he said.
Stout said he believes the anti-bullying efforts in local schools are having a positive effect, but he admits more has to be done. He emphasized involvement from the students might be the most effective way to fight it.
“The students are the greatest asset. If we get enough of them involved, they can make an impact on bullying,” he said.
Joe Lazzaro, president of the Corvette Club, said his group was willing to participate in the festival because it wants to help local youth.
He hoped a large number of festival-goers would appreciate the assortment of Corvettes lined up dating from the 1950’s to present.
Fischer said he hoped thousands of people would attend the first Music, Motors and More festival by the end of the day and said he looks forward to further expansion of community events at the pavilion in the future.