Going to Lancaster's Launch Music Festival? Here are five must-see shows, including "Empire" star Yazz The Greatest.
You never know what you might find when you walk into Launch Music Conference and Festival.
Or what you might miss.
With 221 acts on 18 downtown Lancaster stages April 21-24, it’s impossible to see all of the up-and-coming talent the festival has to offer, conference director and founder Jeremy Weiss said.
That’s why he encourages attendees to look at the schedule and plan out a lineup of must-see shows ahead of time so they make the most their experience.
The goal of the event – now in its eighth year – is to bring musicians, industry professionals and music lovers together for a weekend of instruction, workshops, networking and entertainment.
It’s a conference by day and a music festival by night, Weiss said.
Each of the 221 acts were chosen through a careful selection process from about 700 applicants, he added. And about 90 percent of them are “developing artists.”
Just a few years ago, Twenty One Pilots performed at a burrito shop during the festival, and now, they’re playing Hersheypark Stadium in June. So, who knows what the future holds for this year's lineup.
This year’s festival includes acts from all across the country spanning a wide variety of genres. And, we know it’s hard to narrow them down.
So, here are a few must-see shows to add to your list.
Yazz The Greatest (aka Hakeem Lyon on "Empire")
You’ve seen him on screen. Now, see him on stage at the Lancaster County Convention Center’s Freedom Hall.
Bryshere Y. Gray (aka Yazz The Greatest) – best known for his role as the Lyon family’s fame-obsessed son, Hakeem, in the hit FOX series “Empire” – is taking a break from television to perform for his fans in Lancaster.
“It’s a very limited engagement,” Weiss said. “He doesn’t perform very often outside of the show.”
Weiss said fans can expect to hear several songs from “Empire” as well as Yazz’s own singles.
Details: 9:15 p.m. Friday, April 22 at Lancaster County Convention Center’s Freedom Hall, 25 S. Queen St., Lancaster. Tickets are $32.50 in advance, $37 at the door, $19 with the Standard Weekend Badge or free with the VIP Badge.
In addition to playing major music festivals like Warped Tour over the years, this melodic punk band from New York has played Lancaster several times, Weiss said. And he’s excited to bring them back.
Made up of Anthony Raneri (vocals, guitar), Nick Ghanbarian (bass), Jack O’Shea (lead guitar) and Chris Guglielmo (drums), the band released its sixth studio album “Cult” in 2014. That year, the album peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Vinyl Albums chart. "Cult" is described as combining "classic elements" from throughout the band's approximately 15-year career, according to Bayside's website.
Details: 9:15 p.m. Thursday, April 21 at Lancaster County Convention Center’s Freedom Hall, 25 S. Queen St., Lancaster. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $13 with the Standard Weekend Badge or free with the VIP Badge.
Want to see a Launch Music Festival success story? Ice Nine Kills is the band to see.
The Boston metal band started out participating in smaller rooms at the festival and eventually met and acquired its manager at the conference, Weiss said.
“They’re a band that we’ve worked with over the years and watched grow immensely in Central Pa. even though they’re not from here,” he said.
After selling out The Champ music venue in Lemoyne, Weiss said he decided it was time to graduate the band to a marquee showcase at The Chameleon Club for the festival.
To date, the band has released four studio albums, including “Every Trick in the Book” in December. The album features 10 tracks, each inspired by a piece of literature.
Details: 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23 at The Chameleon Club, 223 N. Water St., Lancaster. Tickets are $14 in advance, $16 at the door, $8 with the Standard Weekend Badge or free with the VIP Badge.
Whether you're a Belieber or a Directioner, you'll love The Weekend Riot.
Interest in the Philadelphia pop duo spiked after its six-and-a-half-minute acoustic mashup of One Direction’s “Made In The A.M.” and Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” went viral on YouTube.
The Weekend Riot – made up of Johnny Costa (vocals) and Bruce Wiegner (vocals and guitar) – also released a five-track EP called “Remember This Night” in March of 2015.
Details: 9:45 p.m. Saturday, April 23 at Lancaster County Convention Center’s Galactic Room, 25 S. Queen St., Lancaster. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, $6 with a Standard Weekend Badge or free with a VIP Badge.
The Launch Music Festival lineup is filled with plenty of local acts. In fact, Weiss said he estimates about 20 percent of the 221 bands are from the region. But one that stands out in Weiss’ mind is Hot Jam Factory, an indie-rock band from Harrisburg.
The band – now known for high-energy live performances – started out playing at open mic nights at the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center and was soon asked to open for MTV’s 2011 Winter Tour, according to the band’s Facebook page.
Now, after releasing its latest single “The Under Age,” Hot Jam Factory will perform as the featured artist at Tellus360 during the festival.
Details: 11 p.m. Friday, April 22 at Tellus360, 24 E. King St., Lancaster. Tickets are $10 in advance and at the door, $5 with a Standard Weekend Badge or free with a VIP Badge.
If you go
What: Launch Music Conference and Festival
When: April 21-24
Where: 12 participating venues in downtown Lancaster (all within walking distance of each other)
Tickets: Badges – which include the conference and the ability to to go from venue to venue at the festival – cost $35 for Friday; $35 for Saturday; $55 for a Weekend Badge; or $85 for a Weekend VIP Badge (which includes a meet-and-greet with Yazz The Greatest and PnB Rock). Prices for individual concerts vary.
More information: Visit www.launchmusicconference.com.