LAUNCH Music Conference once again takes over downtown Lancaster this week. In it’s 5th year this music conference which was started by Rick Gadd and Jeremy Weiss of CI Records features showcases by not yet well known acts from all over and emerging national performers gaining notoriety. There is an incredibly diverse array of musical styles all taking place within walking distance of each other over this April weekend. The diversity and proximity of all this music is one thing I have always loved about Launch and as in past years am treating this as a national music holiday! I shot a few questions to Jeff Breil, one of the conference coordinators to get the skinny on this year’s Launch.
TSI: Wonderfully, LAUNCH celebrates it’s fifth year. What have you learned along the way in your efforts to sustain and improve the conference. What changes will we see this year?
JB: As far as changes go, we’ve largely operated under the model of “it’s not broken don’t fix it”. With every year there are iterative improvements, and this year is no different, but there isn’t a radical change to the event. The key is that every year we get a little larger, a little more ambitious and a lot more resolved to provide a better and better event to our attendees and the city of Lancaster!
One thing we wanted to do this year was bring in more established artists to draw folks in to see some of our developing performers. That said, just because some of those artists are more established, they’re not yet household names either and they fit perfectly with our goal of exposing people to new music. A perfect example is Foxy Shazam – one of our marquee performers this year. This is a tremendous, tremendous, band and one of the greatest live shows anyone will ever see. I truly can’t overstate that! This is a band that has done heavy international touring and been hailed by SPIN as a band people need to know.And a lot of people do know them- they have a rabid fan base. But, there’s also a huge number of people who know them and don’t know it. They’ve had their music used in promos for MLB, the NBA, and more, so a lot of people have been exposed to their music that way. If I had a dollar for every time I played them for someone and they said, “oh! You’re Right! Ido know this song it’s really good” then I’d retire from working on events like this,HAHA!
TSI: What new acts to the conference are you most excited about?
JB: We have so many incredible developing acts that I can’t even plug them all.Instead I’d reccommend people stop by our website: launchmusicconference.com and listen for themselves. We have a Spotify playlist right on the front page featuring a good deal of our performers as a way to inform our attendees of what they can expect before showing up. That said, I’m very much looking forward to Holly Williams another one of our Marquee performers. Holly is the granddaughter of Hank Williams and the daughter of Hank Williiams Jr., so there is a pretty great pedigree there. She is a pretty incredible songwriter and would have a great career even without the family name so I’m really looking forward to watching her perform.
TSI: LAUNCH is a “launching” pad for new and young bands. Are there any Launch alumnus whose careers you have seen blossom since performing at Launch?
JB: One that stands out is Texas In July-who performed at Launch the first year and is back again performing this tear. Since their first appearance at Launch the band has signed a record deal with prestigious indie label Equal Vision Records [Coheed and Cambria, Say Anything, Saves The Day]. Fast forward a few years and they’ve released two successful albums with the label and have spent the better part of the last several years headlining tours of North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, and more.
TSI: For me LAUNCH is especially wonderful if the weather accommodates. What is your forecast for this weekend?
JB: Weather is always the X Factor.
When the weather is great the event goes better as one of the best things about LAUNCH, in my humble opinion, is to pop into one venue to check out a band then walking a block to go see someone else perform, then stopping by a third venue to see what is happening there and so forth. All of our venues are within a couple of blocks from one another and so there’s no reason for our attendees to hole themselves up at once place for a whole night (and definitely not for a whole weekend!).
As of right now, the forecast is looking pretty good. It should be relatively warm and with only a slight chance of rain. So hopefully, even if it does rain, it won’t last. But again, with everything so close together, you can move from one venue to the next without getting soaked even if rain does strike so no one should let weather deter them from coming out and seeing our more than 175 performing acts!