Local musicans aren’t ‘fracking’ around at gas drilling concert

Janel Naro, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Marcellus Shale, a formation of sedimentary rock that lies under a large portion of Pennsylvania, has been recognized by geologists as one of the most promising natural gas resources in the United Sates. However, gas drilling has become a controversial topic due to some of the negative environmental effects of the process. Do the risks outweigh the opportunities?

The Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition of Luzerne County doesn’t think so. That’s why on Sunday, Feb. 19 the organization is putting on Don’t Frack with the GDAC, a concert fundraiser at the River Street Jazz Café featuring local artists.

Scranton native Michael Mizwinski, who performs under the more succinct moniker “MiZ,” is one of the featured artists playing at the event. MiZ first got involved with the Marcellus Shale issue by playing a similar show called Gas Stock in 2010 at the Luzerne County Fair Grounds in Dallas.

“I started kind of getting hip to what was going on around that time, with a lot of the gas drilling and stuff like that. And I’ve talked to a lot of different people, a lot of different musicians, activists and things like that,” MiZ said.

MiZ, who has spent much of the last year touring and recording his recently released full-length album, “East Hope Avenue,” said that he is excited to be a part of the benefit concert and is passionate about the cause as well.

“I strongly support taking care of our environment. I strongly support things that don’t have a negative effect on the planet,” MiZ said. “As a musician, I just try to promote positivity in any way that I can and I feel as though that this is one way to do it. Anything that’s polluting the environment can’t be good for us or the human species.”

Money raised will be used to bring in national experts on hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking” – a process which can lead to groundwater contamination – and for producing media to educate the public on the negative effects of the Marcellus Shale’s local gas production.

The GDAC encourages those concerned with the environmental impact of gas drilling to take action by writing legislators and local government officials, and by becoming a member of the GDAC. Most importantly, the GDAC hopes people will spread the word and support events such as the concert benefit.

Tickets for the Don’t Frack with the GDAC concert at River Street Jazz Café in Plains, on Sunday, Feb. 19 are $10. Admission covers the price of a complimentary pasta and salad bar as well. Also performing at the event will be the bands Mother Nature’s Sons and Aziz, a Rush tribute act. Event starts at 5 p.m.

For more information, visit riverstreetjazzcafe.com, mikemizwinski.com or gdacoalition.org.

Read the full, uncut interview with MiZ here.