Lancaster Festival returns in full after COVID issues of past two years
LANCASTER – The Lancaster Festival returns in full splendor this year from July 21 to July 30 after dealing with COVID-19 issues for the past two years.
The festival board canceled it completely in 2020. It returned last year, but in a limited capacity in which all regular indoor events were cleaned up. But that is not the case this year, as festival fans will fully enjoy the festival experience.
“We’re back to a full schedule,” said festival executive director Deb Connell. “We’re back to a full orchestra. We’re full.”
The festival will feature two national acts as Rick Springfield takes to the Wendel Concert Stage at Ohio University in Lancaster with the show starting at 8 p.m. on July 23 at 1570 Granville Pike.
He has sold 25 million albums and has 17 top 40 hits in the US, including “Jessie’s Girl”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “An Affair of the Heart”, “I’ve Done Everything for You”, “Love Somebody”. and “Human Touch”.
AFTER: Lancaster festival director wants to set crowd record with Lady A and Rick Springfield
Country actor Billy Currington will close the festival at 8 p.m. on July 30. He is a last-minute replacement for Lady A, who canceled her scheduled performance. Festival executive director Deb Connell said Lady A had given no reason to pull out.
Currington is known for songs like “Hey Girl”, “Good Directions”, “Party for Two”, “Must Be Doin’ Something Right”, “That’s How Country Boys Roll”, “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer” and “People Are crazy.”
The midweek tribute show is also a popular attraction. This year’s tribute act is Elton Rohn, performing the music of Elton John at 7:30 p.m. on July 27. He will play with string musicians from the Lancaster Festival Orchestra. This will be the first time anyone from the orchestra has performed with a tribute act at the festival.
“Elton John’s music just lends itself to orchestral music,” Connell said.
The festival also features an outdoor jazz performance at OUL with the Byron Stripling Band and Friends at 8 p.m. on July 25.
Connell said the lineup couldn’t get any better.
“All of the performances are well thought out and everything is going so well,” she said.
Outdoor concerts are of course not the only events of the festival. It also offers downtown lunchtime concerts and various musical activities throughout the area, as well as many other attractions.
“Most of what we do is free for everyone,” Connell said. “Different types of music all over the city. Different venues. There isn’t a place where you won’t find something you like during the festival.”
Connell said a Facebook survey showed people were coming from as far away as California and Maine for the festival. She said a lot of people use the festival as a sort of homecoming.
Like Connell, festival bandleader Gary Sheldon said he was happy the festival was back in full force after pandemic-related issues.
“We’re very excited and we’re back full steam ahead with all the programs and the full orchestra,” he said. “I think it’s a great program that people are going to enjoy this summer.”
This year also marks the 35th anniversary of the festival orchestra and 35 years of Sheldon’s leadership.
“We are delighted to have the full orchestra back,” he said. “So having the full orchestra really gives us the chance to look back and have a retrospective of highlights from the past.”
Some will undoubtedly experience the festival for the first time this year.
“It would be a great first time to experience the Lancaster Festival,” Sheldon said. “Imagine seeing Lady A or Rick Springfield or the Elton John tribute band outside. You can watch the band live on stage or watch the screens. And the orchestra sounds just fantastic. Lots of people bring their covers and just look at the stars while they listen to music.”
Connell said newbies will likely learn that the festival is a different type of concert experience.
“We always allow people to bring things,” she said. “Of course, everything is searched. But we allow you to bring your own picnic basket. We allow you to bring your own lawn chairs. The fact that we associate these nationally renowned artists with our 63 members is amazing. . It’s a great bonus for the audience.”
There is free parking for outdoor events at OUL and a mobility assistance area for those who need assistance entering the park. There is an area for those with table seats to park near the main doors.
For those not parking on site, there is a free shuttle from the Fairfield County Fairgrounds at 157 E. Fair Ave. and one from the River Valley Mall at 1635 River Valley Circle South.
Tickets for the Currington and Springfield shows are $40 for general admission in advance and $45 the day of the show. Tickets for ages 3 to 17 are $10.
Tables in the GJ section are $550 and tables in the KN section are $500 for the Springfield and Currington shows.
Tickets for Elton John concerts are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and $10 for ages 3-17. Groups can also reserve a table of 10 for $250 at this show.
Tickets for the Byron Stripling concert are $35 for adults and $10 for ages 3-17. A table of 10 costs $350.
Visit www.lancasterfestival.org to view the full schedule of events and to purchase tickets.
The festival office is located at 117 W. Wheeling St. and the phone number is 740-687-4808.