Banana Split Festival
Latrobe Memorial Stadium
August 29, 2015
Photos and re-cap by Josh Reardon
During 1904 a gentlemen named David Strickler invented the Banana Split in Latrobe, Pa. The idea of putting toppings and banana’s in with ice cream quickly took off gaining it the popularity it has today. This quickly became a celebrated invention within Latrobe, and for many years it has played host to the famed Banana Split Festival. This year the festival brought in headlining band The Clarks.
The Clarks are known as local legends, forming during 1986 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Though they were not the only local talent to rock the festival. Leading off the bill was Jessica Saenz, a Latrobe native, singer and songwriter who’s success is only matched by her immense talents and sweet personable personality. I had the opportunity to sit down with Jessica before the concert began and she could not have been nicer. Smiling and asking how we were, she asked us if we would like a drink or some food before going on to explain how excited she was to be a part of the festival. Moments later she took the stage before one of the largest crowds I’ve ever seen for an opening band and proceeded to wow each and every individual in the performance space. Her guitarist Cameron skillfully executed his incredible acoustic backups and that meshed perfectly with Jessica’s vocals. Between the two they were able to create an amazingly well crafted performance to kick off the evening.
Following up with another locally known band, Lovebettie was next to rock the stage at the Latrobe Memorial Stadium. This band is known throughout Pittsburgh, but also nationally as they just concluded their Virgin Islands tour. Their unique blend of pop-punk and folk-ish music quickly brought the audience to their feet. With wild and crazy hair reminiscent to that of the 80’s hair flair, you can see how deserving they are of the “Band To Watch” title granted to them by none other than Rolling Stone. Featuring their self-named “swagger rock” genre of music, Lovebettie delivers a catchy, fun spirit that enveloped the entire crowd.
Headliners The Clarks took the stage, and just when things didn’t seem as though they could get more exciting…they did. Let me begin by saying The Clarks put on a fantastic show, they have an astoundingly tight knit energy to them as if they truly were a family. Its easy to tell these stars have been together for a long period of time, just by the way they interact with one another, joking around and having a great time on and off stage. Though time has defiantly not taken its toll, if you were to dig out your old cassette of The Clarks, you would find lead singer Scott Blasey sounds exactly as he used to. This is highlighted on the band’s latest release Rewind, an album featuring older songs by the band as well as several covers they performed when first starting out. The entire night showcased songs both new and old to the band, a unique mix of nostalgia and new found enjoyment. The crowd was ecstatic for the entire performance, chanting all the words to the bands music and went wild for their classic “Cigarette” (even throwing cigarettes from the crowd up on stage). Overall the night was not one to miss, and wrapped up with an astounding fireworks show.