Photo by Mike McMonagle
By day, Fritz Schroeder works his ass off to keep Lancaster County’s forests green and the city’s infrastructure even greener as the Director of Urban Greening for the Lancaster County Conservancy. By night, Schroeder works his ass off to bring top-quality live music acts to the region as one half of the music-promoting duo Series 42. Working with fellow Lancastrian and friend Scott Bookman, Series 42 has earned a well-deserved reputation over the last five years for introducing local audiences to a wide spectrum of music, from prolific folk singer-songwriters to electrifying brass bands … and so much in between.
So how long have you been actively booking shows?
Five or so years?
It seems like Series 42 shows are everywhere. Where all have you booked shows recently?
Over the last year we’ve booked bands at Tellus360, Lancaster Roots and Blues, Celebrate Lancaster and It’s Modern Art in Lancaster and Burning Bridge Tavern in Wrightsville. Series 42 got its start at what is now known as the Ware Center and have booked bands at the Chameleon Club, Elks Lodge, Lancaster Dispensing Company, back yards and pretty much any cool place you can try to put a band. Our philosophy is to find cool bands and put them in cool spaces.
What was that first show like?
We started with a band out of Los Angeles called Fishtank Ensemble. They contacted me; I contacted Scott. Before we knew it we had them booked at the Ware Center, and the show sold out.
Do you cater your booking to any particular genre(s)?
Fishtank Ensemble is this crazy gypsy, calypso, world music with an opera singer who plays a saw. Since then, we’ve booked a lot of Americana and roots music, but we’ve branched out to any band we really like. We hope people trust us to book great stuff regardless of genre.
JP Harris and Chance McCoy at Tellus360 on March 6, 2015; photo by David Gerz
Some bands come with a hefty price tag. Do you personally invest in Series 42 shows?
We only invest when we lose money, but our first rule of booking bands is: Don’t lose money.
You undoubtedly deal with a variety of personalities with all the bands you interact with and host. Tell us a fun anecdote?
One of our favorite singers wouldn’t sing until he got a pitcher of gin and tonic. The bar manager obliged and said singer put on a legendary show. Next time we booked him at that venue, the bar manager had the pitcher of gin and tonic ready to go.
How ’bout a horror story?
We hosted a killer band for Roots and Blues, but the drummer was a jerk from the moment he jumped out of the van. He was mad that we helped carry in his gear. He was mad about where we put his gear once we were in the venue. He was mad that the band van wasn’t parked right beside the load-in door. He was mad there was snow on the ground. I think his bandmates were mad he was in their band…
Any ridiculous rider experiences?
We tell all the bands they can get a healthy meal and drinks, no matter who they are. We really haven’t catered to the crazy requests.
What’s your opinion of the current music scene in these parts?
The Lancaster scene is growing with great touring acts and more young local acts coming up through. Now we need to cultivate the audience to continue to support live music. We also need a high-quality 75-150 person listening room.
How ’bout a shameless plug for an upcoming show?
We’ve got Brooklyn Afrobeat band Zongo Junction at Tellus360 on September 11. We also just announced The Ballroom Thieves, who are returning following a great performance at Lancaster Roots and Blues, at Tellus360 on October 1.