Better Days for Buffalo’s Music Scene

By: Janelle Harb

Features Layout Editor

The Goo Goo Dolls triumphantly return to Buffalo on 12 Sept. making a special appearance at the Music is Art festival, which was founded by band member Robby Takac.

        The all-day event features over one hundred local bands, solo artists, and dancers, as well as a special appearance by the Goo Goo Dolls. Takac started the organization in 2003 to bring attention and support to local artists and to encourage the communal creation of music to touch local lives. The Music is Arts festival has humble beginnings in a small parking lot in Allentown, but it has grown into a mainstay event in Delaware Park, attracting over 20,000 people. Each year it brings more attention to Buffalo’s rising music scene.

Buffalo’s music scene is often lost among its more popular features: chicken wings, the Erie Canal, fetal position-inducing winter weather. But the Goo Goo Dolls headline a group of musical acts, born and bred in Western New York, that have achieved national recognition. The now duo, featuring Takac and John Rzeznik, met while exploring the local music scene and eventually came to form their own successful alternative rock band of their own, sharing the stage with a variety of band mates. Although the band originally formed as a trio in 1986, their first bout of national success struck in 1998 when their first hit single, “Name,” launched them onto TV and into national recognition. Their popularity rose to its peak towards the end of that year with career-making songs like “Slide,” “Iris,” and a cover of “Give A Little Bit” rapidly climbing the charts and remaining there through the majority of the early 2000s.  In 2005, the now Christmas anthem “Better Days” rekindled the band’s popularity, and they again were selling out arenas. The latter half of the 2000s brought strife amongst the band members, as well as a few less popular yet still loved albums. Today, the band is busy touring and writing another new album, as well as investing more time into philanthropy. Throughout the band’s history, Takac and Rzeznik have helped institutions such as the Food Bank of Western New York, Light of Day, and VH1’s Save the Music Foundation.

  The Goo Goo Dolls are not the only band that has come from our home of Buffalo, New York, many other bands and musicians also hail from the area such as, Cute Is What We Aim For, Every Time I Die, and Brian McKnight have gained national recognition, awards, and legions of fans. Without the influence of Buffalo, New York bands like the Goo Goo Dolls would not have formed. The Music Is Art festival shows the importance of giving back to the community that bore you. With supporters like Takac, local bands are given this incredible opportunity, and the community benefits through the enjoyment and appreciation of music. The Music is Art organization also involves a program that accepts new or used instruments that they then refurbish to donate them to local students and schools. In this way, children are taught to appreciate and love something as invaluable as music. In today’s world, music and the arts are being severely cut from children’s lives due to school budget cuts and tough times. It is through this organization that a child is given the chance to discover music, and change their life forever.

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