This weekend, Lancaster Roots & Blues music festival returns for a second year in downtown Lancaster. The festival has been expanded to eight venues with 10 stages this year and features more than 75 artists – running the gamut from bluegrass and Americana to classic rock and jazz. Of particular interest are five master classes offered where performing artists will teach classes in guitar techniques, drumming and more.
In advance, we’ve checked the lineups and highlighted some of the more familiar names, under-the-radar gems and do-not-miss performers. Give it a look yourself and tell us below who you’re excited to see.
Iris DeMent has been putting her life into the lyrics of songs for more than 20 years, talking about her Pentecostal background and being the youngest of 14 children in a household in rural Arkansas. She’s been nominated for two Grammys, and her latest release – 2012’s Sing the Delta – scored critical praise from Rolling Stone.
Stage: Steinman Hall at the Ware Center, Saturday, 8 p.m.
When you need to control the jukebox at the bar, just pop in Iron Butterfly’s 17-minute epic “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The ’60s psychedelic rockers are credited with the development of hard rock and metal.
Stage: Lancaster County Convention Center; Saturday; 4 p.m.
<<< Need more inspiration? Give our ultimate LR&B playlist a listen. >>>
Not so known:
Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton
“Blind Boy” Paxton really is blind – it’s not a shtick. Harkening back to the days of blues and ragtime musicians like Blind Boy Fuller and Blind Willie McTell, Paxton looks, plays and sounds like he came right out of the Depression South. However, he’s only 26, and he’s from California.
Stage: Trust Performing Arts Center; Friday; 7:10 p.m.
Stage: Steinman Hall at the Ware Center; Saturday; 4 p.m.
If Jay Farrar’s name isn’t immediately familiar to you, perhaps his former band – seminal alt-country outfit Uncle Tupelo – is. These days, Farrar fronts Uncle Tupelo offshoot Son Volt and has collaborated on tribute albums for Jack Kerouac and Woody Guthrie in recent years. This weekend marks the kickoff of an acoustic duo tour with multi-instrumentalist Gary Hunt.
Stage: Chameleon Club; Friday; 7:30 p.m.
Not to miss:
Philly alt-country band Marah took their 20-plus year career to a different level in 2014, releasing the innovative album Marah Presents Mountain Minstrelsy of Pennsylvania, which features 8-year-old fiddle player Gus Tritsch.
Stage: Tellus360; Friday; 6 p.m.
Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band
Grammy Award-winning Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band are one of the last purveyors of true Southern Louisiana zydeco.
Stage: Lancaster County Convention Center; Friday; 7:45 p.m.
Few women can belt out the blues like Dana Fuchs. The New Jersey native came to prominence in 2007, playing the role of Sadie in the Beatles-inspired movie musical Across the Universe.
Stage: Chameleon Club; Saturday; 6:30 p.m.
What acts are on your must-see list? Share below!