Ozzy Osbourne tribute band The Land of Ozz will headline event
STORY WRITTEN BY GARY PULEO
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It may pay homage in its name to the ultimate anti-establishment music festival of the 1960s, but there’s nothing countercultural about Yachtstock.
The day of family fun, food and, of course, music, celebrates its 18th year when it takes over Tinicum Township’s historic Governor Printz Park, Corinthian Yacht Club and West End Boat Club in Essington on the banks of the Delaware River on June 25. The rain date is June 26.
Yachtstock RiverJam is so mainstream and family-friendly that even Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will leave their North Pole home in the heat of summer to make an appearance.
“We do several Yachtstock events during the year, but this is the big one,” noted founder George Spicer, who has personally nurtured Yachtstock’s evolution from an intimate concert for a crowd of 50 to an 11-hour extravaganza of continuous live music, from classic rock and country rock to alternative, soul and pop, emanating from four stages, attracting thousands from all over the area.
“It started as just a small concert I played with my wife and our band the Dreamcatchers,” Spicer remembered. “It went over really well, and I happened to be into fundraising anyway, so I said, ‘Let’s do another one as a benefit.’ I wanted to do something for children. By the third year we were playing to 500 people and I knew it had really taken off.”
In the early years, Yachtstock, now a full-fledged nonprofit organization with hundreds of volunteers and Spicer at the helm as president, raised money for childhood cancer programs and fighting children’s diabetes.
Then it took on a more personalized mission to help local families with kids dealing with chronic illnesses.
“For the last 10 years it’s been for local families,” said Spicer, who recalled a desire to help a friend of his daughter’s, a little girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“We raised money to help her family. They had given her six months to live. Well, thanks to an experimental treatment, she’s still going strong. Her name is Helena Angelo. She’s now 21 and she will be at Yachtstock this year. I really liked this kid and wanted to incorporate her into my events. Ever since then we’ve done the event to benefit a local family.”
In addition to the annual donations made to Shriners Children’s Hospital Philadelphia, this year’s RiverJam will benefit two Glenolden families struggling with medical bills.
“Ella D’Angelo and Ryan Burr are two special 4-year-olds, both bravely beating the odds against rare medical disorders,” Spicer explained. “They both require daily care at home and lifelong medical care.”
The RiverJam headliner is The Land of Ozz, billed as “the world’s greatest Ozzy Osbourne tribute band,” which has packed theaters throughout the east coast.
More than 30 acts will rock the RiverJam, including Audra McLaughlin, a top finalist on “The Voice”; country rocker Sara Spicer; JaE; George Spicer and Fired Up; Bug Hunters; Gene and the Hurricanes; Slym Pyckns; Southern Edge; Party Hat Band and Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rumours.
Following the music, fireworks will light up the night sky over Governor Printz Park.
Hosted by radio personality Steve Kurtz, the noon-to-11 p.m. festival also features a live and silent auction, the Ridley Park Car Show, carriage and pony rides and plenty of kids’ activities.
“Ridley Park Car Show’ is doing the car show in the Governor Printz Park where there will also be many vendors selling unique items, including crafts, homemade items, metal art, soaps, jewelry, plus animal rescue organizations,” Spicer noted. “Everyone receives a map when they enter to let them know where everything is going on. We are especially appreciative of local bands that donate their time and talent every year such as Slym Pyckyns, Rumours, Throttle Up, (classic rock), Mark Baker Band and Vincent James.”
Food vendors and sponsors for the 18th annual Yachtstock RiverJam include JD McGillicuddy’s Tinicum; Pig Daddy’s BBQ; Tyler Water Ice; Johnny’s Pizza; Cippolini Catering; Randy’s Souvenirs; Trinity Carriage Service; Wawa Foundation ($500 donation and drinks for the volunteers); Harrah’s Casino, Philadelphia; Hatfield/Clemens Family Group (“a longtime sponsor that has donated their products of hot dogs and sausage grillers”) and Norris Sales Company in Plymouth Township, “who every year lends us independent lights for the grounds and parking area, a generator and contributes toward the cost of our big top tent we have every year.”
Spicer allowed that, “we could never put this on without the help of our sponsors and many volunteers. They’ve helped to make Yachtstock the biggest charitable event in the region.”
Tickets (www.yachstock.org) are $25 for adults; $20 for seniors (65 and over) and $10 for children (ages 6 to 12).
Children ages 5 and under admitted free.
Tickets may be purchased through June 19 at $5 discount for adults and $3 discount for children.
In addition to online, tickets may be purchased at the event in cash and in advance at the West End Boat Club.
For more information, visit www.yachtstock.org.