Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, smiles during Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown in May at York’s Sovereign Stadium.
Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, smiles during Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown in May at York's Sovereign Stadium. (FLIPSIDE - File)
Lukas Nelson will have double duty during Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown.

At the May concert, he performed with his band Promise of the Real and then join his country legend father on the main stage during the culmination of the all-day music event at Sovereign Bank Stadium.

Lukas, 22 at the time, is no stranger to taking the stage with his Grammy-winning dad, 78, and other famous rockers, including Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.

"They just led by example," Lukas said. "I just kind of watched and learned. I wanted to do it on my own."

And he did. He was cut off financially after dropping out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and spent several months living a starving artists' existence.

"It taught me the value of the dollar," he said. "I (learned) that everything can be stripped from me, and I'll still be able to function."

Those lessons helped when he formed Promise of the Real with Anthony LoGerfo, Tato Melgar and Corey McCormick. He knew they had to work constantly to earn a living and pay for time in the studio. It paid off when the group released its self-titled debut Dec. 21.

Ken Wesler said the band can bank on a good turnout at the York show, which is the first partner event between the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center and the stadium.

Wesler, the Strand's president, said tickets started selling well once the weather turned warm. The concert's capacity is 9,000, but Wesler said pre-sales will be capped at 7,000 to allow for walk-up purchases.


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He added that anyone who wants to avoid waiting in line Monday should purchase tickets in advance.

Visitors will get eight hours of music from 14 artists for the price they would pay to see Willie solo, Wesler said.

In addition to three stages of music, there will be food, beverage and souvenir vendors set up around the stadium.

Event preparations have united York, Wesler said. Local nonprofits will set up booths during the event. Central Market will be open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and will also host live entertainment. City police will help with traffic control.

Visitors should have no trouble finding a parking spot due to the Memorial Day holiday, Wesler said. Parking will be available at the stadium-adjacent Small Athletic Field. Street parking and city garages are other options, Wesler said.

The tour takes care of its own production, so Wesler said that after its first three dates, the crew should have logistics as fine-tuned as the musicians' sets.

Lukas said he's comfortable on the road. It's where he bonded with Willie. Diner waitresses and bartenders became his second family.

During a phone interview earlier this month, he was spending a rainy morning in his house in Hawaii, a place he has to get used to after being on tour. While looking out to sea March 3, he penned a song titled "When The Ocean Takes The Earth." A few days later the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. Lukas didn't think the timing was a coincidence.

He sent proceeds from the song to relief efforts there, and more recently, to tornado cleanup in the South.

"I love this country," he said. "I try to get to know the people by driving around. I feel like a resident of the U.S.A."