Twelve bars, taverns and wineries in and around Gettysburg come to life with live music this weekend as the bi-annual Gettysburg Rocks festival returns. What began as a way to combine the region’s appreciation for live music with raising money for a worthy cause has grown into a major three-day festival featuring more than 150 bands and solo musicians of all genres – acoustic, hard rock, indie, bluegrass and more.
Several of the bands performing have graced the pages of the Fly in the past – people like festival headliner and performer extraordinaire David Mayfield Parade of Ohio. There’s also bands like Shawan & The Wonton (our cover story for June), The Wild Hymns (who were highlighted in January) and Rivers (who are featured this month).
But with more than 150 bands performing (see the full weekend schedule here), we wanted to spotlight seven local and regional acts who will make the trip to Gettysburg (and beyond) well worth your visit.
1) Spherehead – Bourbon Bar & Grill – August 7, 7 p.m.
The Lancaster-based indie rock outfit officially changed its name from Harpoon earlier this year, but they’ve continued on with a unique melodic sound that brings together elements of alternative, progressive and math rock. Their debut EP is set for an October 1 release.
2) The Resistance – Zippers Bar & Grill – August 7, 10 p.m.
While mostly playing covers at their live shows, if their song “Jericho” is any indication of what they can do with original material, the band based in Paradise in Lancaster County has some real rock cred. The Resistance had been on hiatus since 2013 before starting to play out live again this year.
3) Deaf Rhino – Bourbon Bar & Grill – August 7, 10:20 p.m.
Hailing from northern New Jersey, the hard rock outfit Deaf Rhino combines a DIY ethos with the best elements of ’90s alternative rock – bands like Incubus, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains. Their debut album, Dirt Rust Chaos, has received airplay on major New York radio stations despite being self released.
4) John Hufford – Reid’s Winery & Cider House – August 8, 7 p.m.
When John Hufford came down with lyme disease in 2012, it forced him to look at his own life and mortality. It also inspired him to start writing his own songs. The singer/songwriter from Bethlehem released his firs EP last year – Person – and has been taking the stage at large and small stages alike, performing heartfelt songs about love and heartbreak.
5) Condition Oakland – Blue & Gray Bar & Grill – August 8, 8 p.m.
For fans of gritty acoustic punk sound of bands like Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio and even Drive-By Truckers, it doesn’t get much grittier than Condition Oakland. Coming from the coal region in Ashland, Pa., the five-piece band has been touring up and down the East Coast, performing songs off their new EP, Nervous Ghost.
6) Eliza Doering & the Penny Black – Hauser Estate & Winery – August 9, 12:45 p.m.
Graduates of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, brother and sister John and Eliza Doering decided to reunite their musical project after finishing school, creating the indie band based in Baltimore. Carrying a heavy blues and rock influence, the four-piece is sure to please fans of guitar-driven sounds.
7) Laney Jones & The Spirits – Hauser Estate & Winery – August 9, 4:30 p.m.
Coming all the way from Mount Dora, Fl., Laney Jones is another graduate of Berklee – and it shows. Her smooth voice with pop sensibilities is featured over educated lyrics and deft skills on the banjo, guitar and ukelele. Jones was featured on the PBS series Great Performances in January and was praised by the likes of Alison Krauss who said, “I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna do next.”
Gettysburg Rocks runs from Friday at 3 p.m. until Sunday afternoon. Most of the shows are free, but proceeds collected from the event are donated to The Four Diamonds Fund. More than $45,000 has been collected for the fund since the festival began in February of 2014.