‘Rock and Grow’ Event Gives Bethlehem’s Ice House a Massive Facelift with a Live Soundtrack

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Featured Image:  The IceHouse Punk & DIY committee with IPAC’s Doug Royson. Left to right: Leo Motolese, Tom Janis, Doug Roysdon, Mel Attieh, Ryan Susko, Shamus McGroggan. Credit: @tumbleweed_photographer, Instagram; used with permission

(Bethlehem, PA) – Dozens of volunteers and local environmental organizations came out to the Charles A. Brown Ice House on Sunday, August 27 to participate in the inaugural ‘Rock and Grow.’ The free event aimed to clean up the many overgrown weeds on the Ice House property, plant native wildflowers, and give attendees a chance to meet with representatives from Lehigh Valley-based environmental groups — all while local bands played a free, outdoor concert.

The event was organized by the IceHouse Tonight Punk & DIY Committee and sponsored by the Sierra Club of the Lehigh Valley and Southside Permaculture Park.

The IceHouse Tonight Punk & DIY Committee is made up of five community members and hosts monthly live music shows at the city-owned performing arts venue on Sand Island. The idea for the event came from discussions the group had about how to clean up the massive overgrowth of weeds which lined the stone wall separating the Ice House’s property from the D&L Trail. To the group’s surprise, there were flowerbeds buried under the weeds — some of which had grown so large, they were mistaken for trees.

The event ran from 1 to 5 p.m. and saw over two dozen volunteers respond to the group’s invitation. While some volunteers helped with preparing the flowerbeds and planting seeds, others picked up trash and debris on the Ice House property and surrounding D&L Trail.

Lehigh Valley-based environmental groups were also present, offering information to attendees about how to become involved with their organizations — Sierra Club of the Lehigh Valley, Southside Permaculture Park, Bethlehem Food Co-op, Climate Action of the Lehigh Valley, Coalition for Appropriate Transportation – Bicycle Cooperative, and Citizens for Responsible Development (Dump the Dump).

Three Lehigh Valley bands played live sets outdoors during the event, providing a soundtrack for the volunteers — jazz duo Cyan Moon, pop-punk band Paper Goods, and improvisational Krautrock band Hexting.

“The Ice House is such a vital piece of Sand Island and has been a home base for community development and artistic expression for many years, so it was remarkable to see locals eager to help out and give back,” said IceHouse Tonight Punk & DIY committee member Mel Attieh. “The turnout was great, everyone was willing to get their hands dirty, and the live music really made it the perfect Sunday. Stoked to see the wildflowers sprout, and what else is in store for the Ice House!”

The IceHouse Punk & DIY committee is made up of Mel Attieh, Tom Janis, Shamus McGroggan, Leo Motolese, and Ryan Susko. The group coordinates with Doug Roysdon who heads the nonprofit IPAC-IceHouse Performing Arts Collective.

The committee said it intends to host another ‘Rock & Grow’ event in the spring to tend to the flowerbeds after the winter and further clean up the Ice House property.

According to Roysdon, over 100 artist-led shows have taken place at the Ice House so far this year.

Information and images provided to TVL by:
Shamus McGroggan,
IceHouse Tonight Punk & DIY Committee