Think about the best concert you’ve ever seen. Visualize the lighting, the packed room. Hear the band playing, the crowd singing along. As a live music fan, that feeling of euphoria that spills all through your body once the house lights go down and your favorite band takes the stage is electrifying.
But as the promoter who booked the show, it’s a moment that he or she has been building towards for months – sometimes a year or more – coordinating with the artist’s managers and publicists, with the venue’s production staff and working hard to market the show all the while.
As the Central PA music scene continues to grow, we’re taking a moment to borrow the spotlight from the bands on stage to instead shine light on those who work to put them there. And while most full-time music venues have full-time talent buyers on staff, no thriving music scene is without its independent promoters; untethered from one particular stage, they enjoy the opportunity to be musical matchmakers, seeking out the perfect setting for each band, singer-songwriter or otherwise that makes its way to town. And in most cases, their show booking plays second fiddle to their day job, fueled entirely by the passion to provide their hometown with top-notch live music.
We recently chatted with three such promoters: Fritz Schroeder, who books shows with friend Scott Bookman under the Series 42 moniker at a wide swath of venues, galleries and houses chiefly in Lancaster; Sean Kenny, who’s most active coordinating the CapLive series at the Strand-Capitol in York but has a hand involved in a number of house concert and smaller venue series; and Sarah Staub, who’s Greenbelt Events operation books The Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Co. as well as a handful of festivals in and around the Capital region.
Click through to learn more about each’s experiences booking music in the region, from successes to horror stories, and to get a taste of where they see the local music scene going in the not-so-distant future.