STORY BY ERIN MAHER
PHOTOS BY LAUREN KRAKAUR
Music fans flooded into the still brand new ballpark in Pomona for the stadium’s inaugural major music concert on Thursday, June 7.
Opened in June 2011, the stadium has hosted professional, college, high school baseball games, charity events, coaching clinics, and other special events. The ballpark’s state-of-the-art technology and sound system proved to be an ideal venue for a concert. The concert, sponsored by the Town of Ramapo and radio station 100.7 WHUD, hosted three top billboard artists, Andy Grammer, Gavin DeGraw, and Colbie Caillat.
As headliner Colbie Caillat prepared to take the stage, it was transformed with twinkling, white lights, reminiscent of stars and created a relaxed, intimate vibe against the dark night sky. Colbie Caillat appeared and immediately her presence created a serene atmosphere for the crowd, as more people were drawn closer to the stage.
Caillat announced that she enjoyed the first concert at the stadium, and that she was fortunate enough to enjoy opening act Andy Grammer’s performance from the comfort of a blanket in the field with the rest of the crowd. Caillat performed tracks from her most recent album, “All of You,” but ended the night with the crowd favorite, “Bubbly,” that the audience sang happily in union with the artist.
Opening act, singer and songwriter Andy Grammer, a native of Orange County, spoke to the crowd during his set. “I’m from around here, I went to Monroe-Woodbury. I never thought I’d be back here. I woke up this morning, got off my tour bus and got a bacon, egg and cheese. Nowhere else in the country can you get that. It’s great.”
Grammer was also well aware that this concert was the first for the park, declaring that it was “pretty cool.” Grammer’s performance engaged and enthused the crowd, as he performed his hits, “Fine by Me” and “Keep Your Head Up.”
Grammer asked the audience to sway and swing their arms with him to the beat, and the crowd was more than happy to comply. Grammer’s upbeat, positive and fun music in conjunction with his crowd presence excited the attendees, especially as he hopped down off the stage and ran through the crowd, still singing. People clamored to get close to him, take a picture, or even just a hug. Grammer stopped and serenaded a young girl sitting atop her father’s shoulders and he then continued walking around the listeners on the field and energized the crowd for the next performer, Gavin DeGraw.
DeGraw, a platinum singer and songwriter, is a native of Sullivan County, New York. DeGraw was not shy as he took the stage during dusk. Between songs, he spoke to the crowd about his New York roots, and his father’s career as a prison guard at the prison in Sullivan County, and how happy he was to be performing in his home state on a beautiful summer night. DeGraw, on tour this summer, performed hits from his new album, “Sweeter.”
DeGraw’s performance had the crowd moving and grooving to the music. A large beach ball appeared and was tossed about the spectators, and DeGraw asked for it on stage. Playfully bouncing the ball and kicking it back into the audience, DeGraw concluded his set with his hit single, “Not Over You.”
Fans and concert attendees left the concert in great spirits after three tremendous performances. Candice Zugibe of Haverstraw was thoroughly pleased with the entire Provident Bank Park concert. She said, “The experience for me was very enjoyable. The weather was perfect and it was great having entertainers everyone knows in our part of the area.” Zugibe continued about how convenient the show location and price of the concert were. “It is an event that doesn’t break your budget… I would definitely go back…I would have spent the same amount of money at the mall that I did for that concert!”
Before DeGraw took the stage, Ramapo Town Supervisor, Christopher St. Lawrence, took the stage to welcome the packed seats and large group of attendees on the grass in front of the stage. St. Lawrence announced that the concert was the kick-off of the summer concert series at the stadium, and that the town of Ramapo is excited to host future concerts and other events, which was met with great applause.
The Ramapo Local Development Summer Concert Series continues throughout the end of summer and includes artists, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, and Smashmouth with special guest Soul Asylum. For show information or ticket information, visit www.rocklandboulders.com or call 845-369-0009.