When alt-country musician Don DiLego played The New World Tavern in Plymouth on a recent Friday night in May, event organizer Mike Gioscia had his “a-ha!” moment. Or, perhaps more accurately, his satisfactory post-“a-ha!” moment.
“At one point, [DiLego] left the stage to get a sing-along together right on the floor, and I thought, ‘This is it, this is what we bring,” Gioscia says. “You don’t see this every night in Plymouth.'”
Located roughly 40 miles south of Boston, Plymouth isn’t exactly known as a go-to spot for live music on the South Shore. But Gioscia, a DJ at WZLX 100.7 FM and familiar voice to those who used to listen to WFNX, created Plymouth Rocks Events with a confident sense of both ambition and purpose. Plymouth already maintains an arts community woven around its usual flux of tourists, but what the town is missing is an additional calendar of national music and touring artists coming through the area. Gioscia wants to make Plymouth that kind of destination, and create buzz in the area; to borrow a common phrase relevant to the region, a rising tide lifts all boats.
“Plymouth has music and film events, but we want to curate one-of-a-kind national and regional rock acts and events that you can’t get on the South Shore,” says Gioscia, whose long-term goals involve a large-scale summer 2018 music festival and helping create financial support of music education in area schools. “In the end, I really want to bring checks to the local school music programs, because the arts are currently so underserved in our school systems — it’s all about testing, and kids need music and art to thrive.”
Technically, DiLego’s performance in May was Plymouth Rock Events’ first show, but their first ticketed gig takes place this Thursday (August 3), bringing Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s and Petty Morals to The New World Tavern.
“As musicians and artists ourselves, we understand that fans want to get ‘up close and personal’ with the artists, so we’ll always provide that availability,” Gioscia adds. “Jane’s going to hang out with fans that night and sign whatever they want, tell stories, really interact, because that what Plymouth Rocks shows will be about, access to artists and content not available anywhere else.”
Following Thursday’s gig is a free ’80s Dance Night on August 19, and Tea Dance, a free LGBTQ+ dance series, on August 27. All of Plymouth Rock Events’ shows on the schedule thus far take place at The New World Tavern, but other, under-utilized venues in Plymouth include the Spire Center, a converted church that can hold about 250 people, and the 1500-capacity Memorial Hall.
Also in the works is a series of music documentary screenings that include a set by the featured band or artist afterwards, but for now, the main goal remains to rope the national talent into Plymouth and build to that coveted profit point so that the booking organization can give back to local schools and foster growth in the Plymouth arts community.
“In 2018, we hope to jump off with our first actual ‘festival’; we’re working on fundraising right now,” Gioscia says. “We all work other jobs, or have kids, or both, so it’s still part time for everybody, but if we can grow it we can spend more time on the art and less in the work world. If I can walk into a local school and give money to kids music programs then I’ll consider this a success.”
Featured photo courtesy of Plymouth Rocks. Follow Victoria Wasylak on Twitter @VickiWasylak.