Fans, a mix of teens and adults dressed in black T-shirts, black leather or blue jeans and wearing dark makeup or sunglasses, started lining up by the yellow, metal gates in the York Fair Grandstand before noon.

By 5:30 p.m., after hearing several sound checks and taking in some fair fare a friend would scamper away to pick up, Halestorm's fans were ready to cheer anything: A classic rock song on a loudspeaker. The raising of a metal door. And finally, the opening of the yellow gates that separated them from the stage.

Halestorm's fans weren't the only ones looking forward to Saturday night's concert at the York Fair.

"We've been looking forward to this for a while," said band member Josh Smith, who, along with Joe Hottinger and siblings Lzzy and Arejay Hale, make up the Grammy-winning band.

"I'm excited to see our old friends," added Arejay.

Less than two hours before taking the stage, Smith and Arejay Hale talked about returning to the region in which they got their start, their recent success, and where the band is going from here.

Hale said they didn't feel any pressure playing in front of the hometown crowd.

Smith agreed.

"That's the best thing about this show," Smith said, taking off his black baseball cap and running his hand through his wavy, black hair. "This is where we're most comfortable. We can just have fun. York is where we cut our teeth. These are the people who first embraced us."

York is a big part of their musical heritage, Arejay Hale said.

"(Playing here) helped us hone our craft and build a fan base," he said.


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From the stage, the lead singer agreed.

"A lot of you guys were here at the very, very beginning," Lzzy Hale yelled during the concert.

Cyndi Freshwater is part of that base. The Windsor resident has followed the band since it played at RLH Guitars in Red Lion.

She was one of the fans waiting in line before the show. She said she purchased her tickets in February, when they first became available.

The band's Grammy victory was a special moment, Freshwater said.

"They beat a lot of good bands, " she said. "(Lzzy) and Arejay are great."

Arejay Hale said the band has developed a special relationship with the fans from York County.

"It's not a fancy area," Arejay said. "They love their rock and roll. They're not fickle fans."

Hale and Smith said the group enjoys hearing from fans about the direction the band is going.

They said the fans have stood by them as the band has challenged itself, grown and developed its current sound.

"The support has always been amazing," Smith said.

Kiersten Dennis, 21, of Shiloh, arrived at the fair at 11 a.m., sporting her "Daughters of Darkness" shirt that promotes the band.

She first saw the band several years ago at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster.

"The fact that they're so big now is amazing," she said, getting nods from some of her friends.

The local connection means something, said Katy Ruff.

"I grew up here, and they grew up here," she said.

The Hales moved to the Red Lion area when they were in their teens and remained in the region as they saw their first tastes of success.

The group is working to continue moving forward.

"If we're not getting better as a band and musicians, we're doing something wrong," Smith said.

Smith and Hale said the group will be releasing a covers EP soon and a new album at the end of next year.

The Band
Guitar and Vocals: Lzzy Hale

Guitar: Joe Hottinger

Base: Josh Smith

Drums: Arejay Hale

Over the years

1997: Lzzy Hale, then 13, starts a band with her brother, Arejay.

2003: Lzzy and Arejay relocate to Red Lion

2004: Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith join the band on guitar and bass, respectively.

June 2005: Halestorm sign with Atlantic Records

April 2006: Halestorm releases its first EP "One and Done"

April 2009: Halestorm releases its first full-length album, "Halestorm."

2010-2012: Halestorm releases two EPs and a live album.

April 2012: Halestorm releases its second full-length album, "The Strange Case of..." The album hit No. 1 on Billboard's hard rock albums chart.

Dec. 2012: Halestorm receives its first Grammy nomination for hard rock/metal performance.

Feb. 10, 2013: Halestorm receives its first Grammy award.

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Roger Hale, father of Lzzy and Arejay Hale, soaked up the scene at the fair.