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Free concerts by Gene the Werewolf and Chris Higbee highlight Fall Festival

8/28/2012 —


12:30-7:00 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 29, Upper Parking Lot

Gene the Werewolf and Chris Higbee are the top attractions for the new outdoor concert series during Penn State New Kensington’s fourth annual Fall Festival.

The two groups are the featured performers of the four-band line-up that runs from 12:30 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, in the reconstructed upper parking lot of the New Kensington campus. Preceding the two main attractions will be two groups with campus connections. An acoustic group comprising current students, 3 Dudes Chillin, opens the concert series at 12:30 p.m. Dimwit, a classic rock band led by drummer and Penn State New Kensington alumnus Matt Knapp, follows at 2:00 p.m. Higbee, a country rock fiddler, and his band take the stage at 3:30 p.m. Gene the Werewolf, a rock and roll band, brings the festival to its crescendo at 5:30 p.m. The shows are free to the public.

A five-man band, Gene the Werewolf was formed in 2006 and has released two studio albums, “Light Me Up” in 2009 and “Wicked Love” last fall. The second album brought the quartet’s gritty pure-rock roots to the forefront. A staple of local radio play, the group is headed by Gene, guitarist and lead vocals.

“We formed this band to play loud, rowdy rock and roll," says Gene, who also plays the piano. "I think with this record "(Wicked Love") we've accomplished everything we've ever wanted out of being in a band together."

The band has also enjoyed local and regional airplay along with frequent in-studio performances on 102.5 WDVE and 105.9 WXDX in Pittsburgh. Its new single, "I Only Wanna Rock N Roll," has been in full rotation on WDVE.

A Western Pennsylvania native, Higbee is a founding member of the Povertyneck Hillbillies. He began a solo career in 2008 and released his eponymous album, “Chris Higbee,” a year ago. Besides the fiddle, Higbee is equally proficient with a guitar and banjo. The show is a mixture of original material with cover songs sprinkled with rock and roll. His band includes Mark Vinisick (bass), Dean Minerva (drums), and Ben Bond (guitar and vocals).  His wife, Melissa Higbee, an Army veteran, makes an occasional singing appearance. Chris Higbee wrote “Write to Me,” while she was in Iraq.

Dimwit, which has a local following, was founded in 2009 and plays classic rock from the 1960s to the present.  They cover a wide variety of iconic bands including the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and Ted Nugent. In addition to Knapp, an Allegheny Township resident, the group features Pat Bono (lead vocals and guitar) from Vandergrift, Mikey Pallone (guitar) from Monroeville, and Danno Antel (bass) from Penn Hills.

The student group, 3 Dudes Chillin, includes Ethan Kovalcik (vocals and ukulele), Dan DeFalco (vocals/guitar), and Ken Beck (percussion). Their sounds range from alternative rock to reggae and from pop to hip-hop. 

The Fall Festival is a community event that is geared to local residents, as well as students and alumni. It is set to run from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., in the campus upper lot. In addition to the concert series, events will include food vendors, a motorcycle rally, bed races, children's activities, and an alumni tent.

For more about the concert series, contact Lauren Blum, 724-334-6063 or ldb14@psu.edu via email.

For more information on the festival, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/fallfestival online.

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