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State College Bands to Stage 'Freeman Fest' to Help Fire Victims

by and on March 19, 2014 3:10 PM

When Scott Freeman and his wife Mary, came home from Christmas shopping to find their house destroyed by fire, they lost everything – furniture, clothes, pictures of their sons, Alex and Dylan, and relics of Freeman’s days as a student at Penn State and as a drummer in the popular band Crazy Daze.

Despite this, Freeman is described as one of the most upbeat characters a person can ever meet. To celebrate Freeman’s positivity, to aid his family and to create new musical memories, Freeman Fest, a benefit concert, will be held on March 22 at the Pine Grove Mills VFW.

From 3 p.m. to midnight, the concert will feature nine performances and will be headlined by the Dancing Goats from New York City. Other performers will include SGT Bob, Biscuit Jam, Ivory Debris and Freeman’s own band from the late ‘80s, Crazy Daze.

The night will include light snacks from 3 to 5 p.m., a homemade lasagna dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. and an open bar from 4 to 8 p.m., all for $20. Tickets must be pre-purchased for the snacks, dinner and open bar. Entrance after 8 p.m. will be available space only for a $10 cover.

Pat Elliott, an organizer of the benefit and local musician, described Freeman as a “true Woodstock spirit.” During his time at Penn State, Elliott would often spend his off nights going to see Crazy Daze perform. Once he returned to State College in the mid-‘90s, Elliott joined Ivory Debris. Freeman became the band’s drummer in 1997 and stayed with the band until his move in 1999.

“He has a heavy belief in taking care of people, of taking care of the land and environment, and just never, ever seemed to get mad,” Elliott says. “He is just one of those people you knew would make an evening better by his presence. Scott was the smile in the room and his positive vibe was a virus we all needed to catch.”

Freeman’s attitude hasn’t changed over the years. According to Elliott, though the Freemans lost everything during the holidays, they did everything they could to make the best out of a bad situation.

“They made the best of it and worked it out,” he says. “This spirit inspires me personally.”

So when it came time to come up with a way to help the family, Elliott knew a benefit concert was the perfect way to mesh Freeman’s musical background with his caring nature. Just the year before, Freeman was one of the leaders behind a benefit concert for Denny Strauser, a local soundman who was in need of an expensive eye surgery. Benefits had been held in Pittsburgh where Strauser currently works at a large club, but Freeman felt it was necessary for the State College area to help.

“Scott paid it forward,” Elliott says. “He deserves to have it paid back.”

And so Elliott and a few others booked the Pine Grove Mills VFW and started contacting bands. All but one act are local and each band knows Freeman personally or by reputation.

“The goal was to slowly progress from acoustic music during dinner to danceable rock music,” Elliott says. “It’s going to be a blast, a vast array of music, but very, very cohesive.”

Seeing all these bands come together to support Freeman and his family is both spirit-lifting and expected for Elliott.

“This is a family. You’re not calling bands, you’re calling family that happens to have the gift of music,” he says.

One such band, the Dancing Goats, has local ties. Members Scott MacPherson and Maria Riggi are both former Penn State students who made music during their time at the university. MacPherson is the founder and original guitarist for the Screaming Ducks.

“To have him drop what he’s (MacPherson) doing and bring this highly successful band on a camping trip to Pine Grove Mills to help Scott should speak volumes about Scott Freeman,” Elliott says.

Though the benefit will help to raise funds for the Freemans, Elliott stresses it is much bigger than that.

“At times like this, a guy with a wife and kids needs desperately to know he’s loved, needed and appreciated. That’s what Scott gives to the world. I’m fulfilled the world is giving back,” he says. “Scott will have something that donations and the insurance company can’t replace – evidence of a life of making great music for and with friends.”

For tickets, contact the Pine Grove Mills VFW at (814) 238-3254 or visit the event's Facebook page by clicking HERE. If you are unable to make it to the event, but would like to donate to the cause, visit



WHO: Fans and supporters of Scott Freeman and his family

WHAT: Freeman Fest

WHERE: Pine Grove Mills VFW

WHEN: March 22, 3 p.m. to midnight

WHY: To aid a family while enjoying a night of great food and music

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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