Tonight's Gunpoets show will be the first for brand new Bernie Milton Pavilion in Downtown Ithaca

August 6, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

The Ithaca Commons construction project has had an impact in lots of ways over the last three years, but one of the most noticeable has been the displacement of the live music scene from the core of Downtown Ithaca. That ends tonight, as the Summer Concert Series moves back onto the Commons, onto the new Bernie Milton Pavilion.

The Gunpoets performing at the GrassRoots Festival. 14850 file photo.The Gunpoets performing at the GrassRoots Festival. 14850 file photo.Tonight's show, scheduled to start at 6pm, features local stars The Gunpoets, blending approachable hip-hop with rhythmic activism for a show with a surprising energy, along with hip-hop artist Ave Mack and Greatest Common Factor, an Ithaca College based hip-hop dance crew. Tatiana Sy from the Downtown Ithaca Alliance tells us, "The Gunpoets are indeed performing on Bernie Milton tonight."

The plaque on the original Bernie Milton Pavilion, which has been moved to the new structure. 14850 file photo.The plaque on the original Bernie Milton Pavilion, which has been moved to the new structure. 14850 file photo.Once in the center of the Ithaca Commons, the Bernie Milton Pavilion has been called "the heart of the local music scene." On the new Commons, the pavilion is in Bank Alley, formerly a block of North Tioga Street, with the stage next to Seneca Street facing towards the Trolley Circle at the center of the Commons.

The new Bernie Milton Pavilion will be ready for the Summer Concert Series tonight. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.The new Bernie Milton Pavilion will be ready for the Summer Concert Series tonight. 14850 Photo by Mark H. Anbinder.Bernie Milton was a popular Ithaca musician and radio host, a classic soul performer who died in 2002, and naming the primary performance space on the Commons after him seemed only natural. "The man was a true legend of our community," says Eliot Rich of the Gunpoets. The pavilion held countless summer concerts, was a key venue for the Ithaca Festival, and served as a focal point for rallies and other gatherings.

For the last couple of summers, the Summer Concert Series has had its shows under the marquee at the State Theatre on West State Street, with traffic blocked off for the evening each Thursday. The Gunpoets is one of the acts that's performed in front of the State Theatre, but before that, had played the original Bernie Milton Pavilion. The Ithaca Festival, which has also long used the Commons for multiple musical venues, has also moved its stages around downtown, including at the State Theatre and in Dewitt Park.

As of last night, the pavilion's glass panel roof, assembly of which began last week, hadn't been completed, but with zero chance of rain in the forecast, a partial roof shouldn't affect tonight's concert.

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