ROCK THE BLOCK CONCERT AIMS TO FEED NEEDY FAMILIES & FUEL A NIGHT OF FUN 
 

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Kevin Stevenson of The Unholy III headlines Rock the Block Friday. Photo by Coleman Rogers.

By Mike Flynn

The days are getting shorter and there’s a hint of fall in the air.

Across the Merrimack Valley, seasonal aisles in supermarkets and pharmacies are stocked with back-to-school items. Yes, the dog days of summer may be winding to a close but that doesn’t mean the Mill City’s nightlife goes into hiatus — not by a long shot.

Downtown Lowell will experience an end of summer bash Friday, Aug. 24, that’s sure to rival any of the season’s highlights and do some real good for those in need throughout our region.

Lowell Bank presents Rock the Block at the Athenian Corner to benefit the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, Inc.  

“This is going to be a big block party,” says Teddy Panos, owner of the Athenian Corner restaurant and morning show host on WCAP 980 AM. “It’s a totally different animal from our Concerts on The Corner series. This time we’re using the whole parking lot as a concert venue, basically. We’re putting in a stage, hiring professional sound equipment and technicians. We got the temporary permit from the city for the whole parking area, so adult beverages will be flowing and we’ll be offering a block party menu in the parking lot in addition to our full menu inside the restaurant.”

The lineup of performers lending their time and talents will feature Kaitlin Dibble & Her Delusions of Grandeur, Nemes (pronounced Neemiss) and will be headlined by The Unholy III, a trio led by former Shods frontman Kevin Stevenson. The Unholy III are releasing their debut album “Right In The Eye” at the Rock The Block concert.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to do the record release show for this album,” Stevenson says. “It’s a record that was born on the streets of Lowell. Some of the songs are about things that happened right downtown.” 

“Right In The Eye” is already available for digital delivery on Bandcamp.com but will also be available in cd format at the show.

“It is going to be a blast!” says Jack Baldwin, host of WCAP’s Living For The Weekend and the Master of Ceremonies for the event.

“We’re so happy to say ‘Thank You’ to our friends at Lowell Bank,” Baldwin adds. “They’ve stepped up and sponsored this event to make sure that not only will this be a successful benefit, but this might be the best concert you’ll see this summer, and for only $5 or a donation of food, you can’t beat that.”
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Donations will help the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, which serves 30 communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, supply food to pantries, shelters, food kitchens and programs serving needy individuals and families. 

A community-supported nonprofit organization, the food bank will have a truck parked on Market Street (outside the Athenian Corner), accepting donations of non-perishable food items and the money raised at the gate will go to the operations of the organization at their most challenging time of the year.  

“We see a huge upturn in donations around the holidays,” says Amy Pessia, executive director of the MVFB. “But in the summertime people are busy with their kids at home and vacations so we aren’t really on their minds so much.”

“We are one of only four food banks in Massachusetts that serves food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, day and residential programs that in turn, serve individuals and families,” Pessia adds. “Events like this are so important to us at this time of year to continue our mission.”

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Kaitlin Dibble and Her Delusions of Grandeur are set to Rock the Block. Photo by Mauricio Cordero. 

Calling Rock the Block a “true community event,” Baldwin said the concert came together based on an idea to help those in need and center it around a fun event. That idea became reality thanks to the generous actions of so many people in Lowell who stepped up to make the event happen, including the bands, local media outlets and businesses. 

Rock The Block, added Baldwin, is not about competing with any of the other nightlife options in the city this Friday, but more about showcasing the diversity of options while doing some good as a community.

“We just want everyone to come downtown and have a ball, whether it’s the Farmers Market, Fresh-air Fridays, the Summer Music series at Boardinghouse Park or the Lowell Bank NiteScene at the Back Page with Mike Payette and Cassandra Mckinley — which is the official ‘unofficial’ after party by the way,” he said. “We want to encourage folks coming downtown to stop by the Athenian Corner and drop off a few groceries for those in need. I’d love to see a full truck rolling away on Friday night.”

For more information on Rock the Block click here. To learn more about the Merrimack Valley Food Bank, or to make a donation visit their website. Learn more about Rock the Block sponsor Lowell Bank here.

Mike Flynn is a native Lowellian with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication/ Film from Emerson College where he produced The Jazz Oasis on 88.9 fm WERS.  After graduating college he left Lowell for sunny California, where he sought refuge from the horrors of Visual Effects editorial work on such abysmal pictures as Mission Impossible 2Kung Pow: Enter The Fist  and Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Box  in Los Angeles’ many superb used record stores.  Upon returning from Los Angeles to Lowell in 2001, Mike attended the graduate program in publishing & writing at his alma mater, Emerson College.  He was an on-air personality at 980 WCAP am in Lowell from 2008-2012 and has hosted Almost Acoustic on 91.5 fm WUML Lowell since 2011.  He likes long walks on the canals and, for some reason, thinks that he has seen far more sunrises than sunsets.

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Exploring everything from food and shopping to arts and entertainment so you can experience the best of what Greater Lowell has to offer.