M&T has announced that its long-running Plaza Event Series will be aired virtually in 2020, due to COVID-19. Since 1969 (two years after One M&T Plaza opened), the event series has been bringing locally acclaimed live performances to downtown Buffalo. This series has become a welcome diversion for office workers, by breaking up their workdays with stellar music performances.
Instead of simply scrapping the live performances, M&T decided to team up with Buffalo Music Hall of Fame (BMHOF), by providing the organization – deemed “protectors of Buffalo’s local music legacy – with a $10,000 charitable grant. The grant will allow BMHOF to launch the “Plaza (At Home) Event Series”, featuring many of the same music groups that people have come to love over the years, along with some talented up and comers.
In 2019, M&T celebrated the 50th season of the Plaza Event Series, which has become the longest-running free concert series of its kind in the United States.
“For more than 50 years, the Plaza Event Series has been at the heart of M&T Bank’s work to build a stronger, more vibrant and more connected Buffalo community. We are determined to preserve its history and advance its mission, while ensuring the safety of everyone involved,” said Chris Kay, M&T Bank Executive Vice President and Head of Consumer Banking, Business Banking and Marketing. “This reimagined version of the Plaza Event Series will maintain the objectives we’ve always strived for – bringing people together through music and showcasing local artists.”
It was important for this event series to not take a break in 2020, because it is touted as “The longest-running free concert series of its kind in the United States.” Since its inception, countless bands and performers have been spotlighted, by literally giving them a platform upon which to stand.
Architect Minoru Yamasaki envisioned the open plaza surrounding One M&T Plaza becoming a gathering place for people who worked and lived in the city’s central business district.
“As a Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee, M&T Bank has an impressive record of supporting local arts and culture. Year after year, the Plaza Event Series has provided local musicians with a prominent stage to connect with new audiences and build deeper bonds with existing fans,” said BMHOF President Anthony Casuccio. “Live music has endured some tough times during the COVID-19 pandemic, so we’re grateful for M&T’s support and excited to work with their team on this creative solution to keep the series alive and celebrate local artists.”
This summer’s online twist will not only showcase live music performances, it will also include interviews with artists.
If there’s a silver lining in all of this, it would be the strengthening of a relationship between BMHOF and M&T Bank. Hopefully this bond will continue to grow in years to come.
The first 2020 Plaza (At Home) video is expected to debut in June.