Gateway Harbor Park in the Tonawandas has been a place for recreation and family based events for generations. Since 2002, the not for profit organization Tonawanda Gateway Harbor, Inc. has hosted live entertainment events on Wednesdays along the North Tonawanda shore. I recently spoke to Rick Falkowski about how the events have evolved, and what they are adding to this year’s concert series. “We started the Gateway Harbor concert series in 2002 to provide entertainment for the baby boom generation,” Rick says. “Sort of what Thursday at the Square was before they started booking national acts. We have always kept it as local bands or bands that have ties to the local music scene.” He continued, “What differentiates us from other free local band weekly events is we have concert level stage and sound. You could say we are a local band concert series.”
We started the Gateway Harbor concert series in 2002 to provide entertainment for the baby boom generation.
Gateway also took over the Gateway Market Thursday events this year and renamed it Gateway Food Truck Thursdays. “We had 10 food trucks at our first Thursday and it is certain to grow in the future,” Rick added. There is also acoustic music at the Thursday events. These events are held on the City of Tonawanda side of the Erie Canal. The food trucks are on Young Street, which is closed off to traffic.
Many of the people that come to the Wednesday concerts have been attending the shows for the past 15 years. The majority of the attendees are from the North Tonawanda and Tonawanda (city & town) area, but draw people from across Western New York. “Most of the crowd is from the baby boom age group, but people of all ages are at the shows,” he says. “One thing people like about the event is it is a family orientated affair, you feel safe being there. People can come there to meet up with their friends. Their adult children can come with them and not feel out of place. If their grandchildren come with them, they will also enjoy themselves seeing the bands and enjoying all the boats on the canal.”
The band are all classic rock orientated groups. “We have tried other styles of music, but classic rock is what the people coming to Gateway want to hear.” All the bands are local bands or have ties to WNY. Rick describes some of the local ties, “The band Who Are You from Massachusetts has played in the past, and the guitarist is originally from Amherst. He was with the band Wunderland. This summer Tom Geraci is bringing his California based band to play at Gateway but Tom is from Tonawanda and was with the local bands Crossroads and The Beez in the 70’s and 80’s.”
I have done some production work at these concerts in the past, and they have always been well attended. With the ever growing roster of weekly events featuring live music and food trucks, this one has been a particularly good draw, and proves the WNY community supports live music wherever it is. In a region where you’re just 20 minutes away from any given destination, I recommend to the connoisseur of sunshine, live music, food trucks, and libations, add this weekly event to your rotation.