If ex-Rustlanders guitarist/vocalist Jason McIntyre had his way, The State Theatre would be devoting an entire weekend to celebrating the State College music scene.
Unfortunately, the venue’s schedule simply wouldn’t allow this, so he had to settle for organizing one night of all original, all local music.
The aptly named “Return of the Native Sons and Daughters” concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and will showcase a whopping nine performances by State College-based artists.
McIntyre, who was born and raised in the area, graduated from Penn State in 2002 with a major in recreation, parks and tourism management. However, he admits that he never really put this degree to much use, as he started playing music professionally immediately after finishing school.
“You lose sight of how much talent’s here,” he said. “[A show of this scale] is kind of tough to coordinate, but it’s well worth it. It’s going to be a fun night.”
Richard Biever, executive director of the theater, paralleled McIntyre’s remarks, acknowledging the unprecedented nature of the concert and stressing that the theatre’s mission has always been to provide the town’s “mind blowing” arts organizations with a place to share their craft.
“We put [the show] together relatively quickly,” Biever said. “Down the road, we can definitely turn it into a festival-type situation.”
McIntyre previously organized two shows for the theatre this year in conjunction with different non-profit organizations.
The first show, held in January, saw local artists covering Neil Young songs to raise money for Easter Seals. The second show took place in July and adopted a “British Invasion” theme featuring covers of overseas tunes by the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones to benefit the Bestwick Foundation.
In contrast to both of those concerts, McIntyre promises Friday’s show will encompass “strictly original” music.
The event will be co-sponsored by The LION 90.7 FM and Elk Creek Café and Aleworks. The latter’s owner, Tim Bowser, will serve as emcee for the night.
“We’re happy to have his beer in our dressing room,” McIntyre said of Bowser’s establishment.
Bowser certainly seems up to the challenge of hosting, even if the theatre is “four or five times” larger than his own bar.
“It’ll be mostly my friends and neighbors anyway,” he joked.
Bowser said that at least the vast majority of the concert’s lineup has performed at Elk Creek Café to “great acclaim,” and expressed his hope that the prospect of seeing so many great artists. Those who have “made a conscious decision to stay here” will lead to a packed house on Friday night.
“I’ll be celebrating as much as anything,” Bowser said.
McIntyre also said the concert will allow several of the performers, including the Andy Tolins Bluegrass Revue and Pure Cane Sugar, to debut new songs they are either currently recording or plan to record for upcoming albums.
For his own set, McIntyre and fellow Rustlanders alum Junior Tutwiler — who now perform as J. Mac and Junior — will join Pure Cane Sugar for a medley of both bands’ songs.
All tickets for the show, which McIntyre expects will run until 10 p.m., cost $12. One dollar from each ticket purchase will be donated to the Happy Valley Cares charity for child abuse victims.