Lancaster Roots and Blues 2015: The Venues
The inaugural Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival in 2014 proved that small cities can get festive in a big way! The 2015 dates are February 6-7 and the event has grown to nearly 70 acts on ten stages in eight venues. There is way too much news to share in one blog, so I’m beginning this series by describing the venues. As a disclaimer, I should remind you that I serve as Director of Operations for LRB and will tend to gush with excitement about this glorious weekend of entertainment and merriment.
Freedom Hall in the Lancaster County Convention Center on Penn Square will again be the epicenter of the weekend. This is where ticketing, vendor and merchandise staff will greet you and distribute wristbands and programs. A VIP Area will be hosted in The Montgomery House and those tickets include preferential seating in the center of the hall. This is the biggest performance space and received the most comments in last year’s review poll. I assure you that we have given them our careful attention.
The biggest national acts will perform there both nights including Chubby Carrier, Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown, Steep Canyon Rangers and Live. It’s true; the multi-platinum-selling rock band Live is making a stop here Friday night on their world tour behind a new album. The headliner for Saturday has yet to be announced. Think big. Music on Saturday starts at 2:00pm to fight off the mid-afternoon, mid-winter blues! There’s just one stage at LCCC this year and it will be a showcase.
Tellus 360 at 24 E. King St. will again host music on two stages at the front and back of the building. They have added a VIP Area thanks to sponsors and caterers extraordinaire The Accomac Inn. Will Tellus be presenting fantastic acts to capacity crowds all weekend again? Bet on it. And on Saturday they will have stellar co-hosts. Ed Helms and Amy Reitnouer will host The Bluegrass Situation Stage starting at 2:30pm. Four of the weekend’s top acts will perform special sets to be broadcast all over the globe. Check the schedule and don’t be late!
Chameleon Club, 223 N. Water St. and our most rocking nightclub venue, will present acts only on the main stage this year. There will not be a VIP area. It’s all about the music and they have some truly major acts both nights! The Chameleon is an institution worth visiting on any night and this weekend you’ll feel the roots and blues vibes in a setting just made for it!
The Federal Taphouse at 201 N. Queen St. will have music starting at 9:30 both nights and a VIP Area in the comfy lounge upstairs for late night snacks from 10pm-12am. But it opens at 11:30 am daily and has 100 craft beers on tap, wood-fired pizzas and a crazy-good Sunday brunch starting at 10:30. If you were there at midnight on Friday of last year when Sweet Leda took the stage, you know this place gets packed with really fun, happy people. We moved Sweet Leda to a bigger room this year (The Elks) but wow, FedTap is stacked with acts again this year!
The Ware Center at 42 N. Prince St will again feature two performance spaces and a VIP Area catered by The Accomac Inn of Wrightsville (yum!). The rededicated Owen Salon upstairs is a fine listening room with a unique view of the city through its curved glass face. Steinman Hall on the main level is an acoustically perfect theater seating 360. Both rooms offer preferred/early seating for VIPs so double-check the schedule and make sure to arrive early for the must-see acts in this must-hear room. Music starts at 5:50 Friday and 5:00 Saturday. We are working on some special events and master classes for Saturday afternoon so stay tuned!
Lancaster Roots & Blues is very excited to welcome three new venues for 2015!
The Trust Performing Arts Center is at 37 N. Market St and faces The Ware Center. The history in this building and the beauty of the space make this venue a spot not to miss. A relaxing lobby, a catered VIP Area and some of our finest acoustic acts will make you glad we added The Trust. I could imagine some people might be there to open Friday night with bluegrass phenoms Grand Ole’ Ditch and wind up staying. I know a ton of people will be there to close Saturday night with Jake Lewis and The Clergy!
The Lancaster Dispensing Company, or DipCo as we locals know it, is between The Trust and Lancaster Central Market at 33 N. Market St. Since 1978, DipCo has been the hub of Lancaster for delicious food and a vibrant music scene. Whenever guests visit me from out of town, DipCo and Market are the two places at the top of our itinerary. Since 1988, I’ve never had a guest who didn’t insist on a return trip to both. They open at 11am daily so your perfect Saturday starts at Central Market followed by the perfect lunch at DipCo. Fittingly, we have booked some of our best local roots and blues acts there both nights. You can’t truly appreciate Lancaster or our scene until you’ve hung out at DipCo and it is smack in the middle of the whole festival!
The Lancaster Elks Lodge has been my favorite new venue to tell everyone about because they always say one of two things. It’s either, “Whoa, cool, I love seeing shows there!” or “Really? I’ve never been in there. Is it nice?” Huddle up; The Elks is a GREAT place to see bands. It served brilliantly for years as the home to Music Friday Feature Concerts through their coordination with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and promoters Series 42. The Ballroom upstairs has a fine stage and lighting with a dance floor that easily handles 300+. And the lineup for both nights will fill that floor (Sweet Leda on Friday!). Their menu is ample and familiar. The drinks are generous and cheap. There’s a historical, classy ambience to The Elks and when it’s rocking, it stands up to anywhere around here in its weight class.
So there you have our list of eight venues for Lancaster Roots and Blues! You can choose one and hang for the night, roam to a few or make the most of your experience and visit them all. Stay tuned for another blog shortly with a focus more towards the music. Live Music is Better and we have a truckload!