The Bastard Bearded Irishmen One of 70 in Inaugural Strip District Music Fest
Ben Jaber, bassist for the Bastard Bearded Irishmen, recalls the groups surprising roots as they are one of 70 who fight the frost to fill the Strip District with song. People are likely to fight the cold and fill the Strip District this Saturday to enjoy music spread over eleven venues in the Pittsburgh neighborhood as part of the inaugural Strip District Music Fest. One band all Pittsburghers are sure to recognize, The Bastard Bearded Irishmen, is the City Paper's 2012-2013 Best Rock Band in Pittsburgh. A band to reach such heights was forged in visions of soaring off the charts, right? Actually no.
In 2008 a few friends joined to play a gig in honor of a close friend, George Henry Evans, who had unfortunately passed. The charity in his honor, the George Evans Memorial Fund, had spawned a local icon in its fourth year. Together, the group decided to excite the crowd with a one time Irish performance. Six years later they're still performing. According to Jaber the reaction of the crowd and the thrill of the performance spurred them on.
Jaber recalls a day when the Strip District was the thriving hub of the Pittsburgh night life and feels this festival can do its part to restore the Strip District to prominence. He recalls a time not far off where Lawrenceville, one of the regions biggest revivals, saw empty store fronts and a lack of traffic.
The Strip District Music Fest will be free to enter with a “Pay What You Want” feature. This feature allows patrons have the opportunity to pay their perceived value to specific bands they enjoy. Seventy-five cents of every dollar will go directly to the band of your choosing with the remainder twenty-five cents going to the festival to ensure its longevity. Starting at noon the music will play until they close down at two in the morning the next day.
Ben Jaber and his Bastard Bearded Irishmen, as always, are excited for for the opportunity to play and promise to put on a great show. “We perform like its the last time every time.” Jaber explains, “We have so much fun on stage, we want to engage the crowd and we want everybody to come out, forget about their worries and have a good time.”