Who cares about the weather, when you’ve got great music and camaraderie to keep you warm? And now art is being added to the wintry mix.
Now in its sixth year, Lancaster Roots & Blues, A Festival of Music and Art, is scheduled for Feb. 22-24 in downtown Lancaster, Pa. All venues are within a three-block area, and — new this year — numerous art galleries will welcome visitors as well.
There also will be an arts and crafts expo at the Lancaster County Convention Center, where the main stage is located.
Also new this year will be additional shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoons for those who prefer their music in the daytime.
More than 70 musical artists from around the country will perform on 10 stages over the three-day event. All kinds of musical genres will be represented, including blues, jazz, reggae, Americana, Western swing, funk, bluegrass, soul, rockabilly, and more.
Big-name artists include Thornetta Davis (“Detroit’s Queen of the Blues”), Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band from Baltimore, Albert Cummings, Frank Bey, Jon Cleary, Ron Holloway Bands, Suddenly, Tammy!, and Watermelon Slim, plus some very special guests to be announced later.
Among other performers are Andy Mowatt’s Frequency Movement, Benyaro, Billy Walton Band, Cary Morin, Chase Walker Band, Garland Jeffreys, Ghost Town Blues Band, Greg Piccolo, Hubby Jenkins, Jamie Mclean Band, Jeff Thomas’ All Volunteer Army, Jimmy Adler Band, Left Lane Cruiser, Leo DiSanto, Mighty Joshua, Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88’s, Oliver Bates Craven, Ray Fuller and The Bluesrockers, Riley Moore, Seth Walker, Sweet Leda, and the Probables.
Concerts take place in eight venues of various sizes, from the Lancaster County Convention Center to the Lizard Room at the Chameleon Club and Zoetropolis.
Bios of all the performers are on the website along with information on venues, hotel packages, and tickets.
‘Superb weekend’ on tap
Some 10,000 attendees flocked to Lancaster last year for the festival. The city of 59,000 in south-central Pennsylvania is a 110-mile drive from Washington, D.C.
Named as one of the “Top 10 coolest places to visit” in 2018 by Forbes magazine, Lancaster offers a thriving arts scene, museums, theaters, restaurants, and shops, plus the lure of the nearby Amish countryside.
Rich Ruoff is festival creator and director. He was formerly the longtime owner of the Chameleon Club, and then promoted running events and bicycle races for years. But he missed the music business, and thought the city was ready for a music festival. He noted the lively music scene already in place, with quality venues supportive of live music and an abundance of regional talent.
Ruoff thought adding art to the equation this year would make it even better.
“Lancaster has really enjoyed a dynamic arts scene and we wanted to marry the two — music and art,” Ruoff said. “This will be a process over the next few years to really develop this relationship. We hope that it will give more people reason to travel to Lancaster for the festival.”
Attendees will receive a wristband with their ticket to enter the venues. There are one-day passes, two-day passes and three-day passes. Ruoff said the best values are for multi-days, costing less than $50 per day.
“I believe (of course I’m biased) that we are the best value in the festival industry,” he said. “A huge selection of great artists . . . and affordable ticket prices.”
Ruoff said the festival has great appeal for visitors.
“Lancaster is one of the great walkable cities in America and, combined with a truly fun musical and arts festival, it makes for a superb weekend of activities,” he said.
What: Lancaster Roots and Blues, A Festival of Music and Art
When: Feb. 22-24
Where: Eight venues, downtown Lancaster, Pa.