Live Music returns to Lancaster County

Bakithi Kumalo's Graceland Experience, kicks off the Summer Concert Series at Long's Park in Lancaster Sunday July 11, 2021.

On May 26, 1962, at least two Lancaster County music institutions were officially born. 

The first, the Long’s Park Amphitheater, was formerly dedicated on that date. To honor such a momentous addition, the Long’s Park board of directors decided to hold what they called the “Day of Music,” an all-day concert featuring musicians from different genres, all celebrating music together. 

For 33 years, the Day of Music was an annual part of the Long’s Park Summer Music Series, bringing together both regional artists and a variety of national artists as well, from Pat Boone to Blood, Sweat & Tears. After a final go of it in 1995 with an oldies-themed Day of Music featuring the Coasters and the Drifters, the concept was retired. 

Until now. 

After 26 years, the Long’s Park Day of Music returns to formally wrap a bow on the Summer Music Series. On Saturday, September 18, Long’s Park will welcome three regional and three national music acts to take both the amphitheater stage, as well as a special side stage, with music alternating back and forth throughout the day from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.  

In addition to the music, Long’s Park will feature its first-ever beer garden at an amphitheater concert. The beer garden will be run by the owners of Trio Bar and Grill, who are set to open the new, as-of-yet-unnamed bar and restaurant at the location of the former Federal Taphouse in downtown Lancaster. 

“The board has been challenged several times to have a beer garden, but we present the Summer Music Series as a family-oriented event,” Wauls says. “So, at this point, we haven't really made any decisions whether for next year or the following year as to whether that would be part of it or not. So, this is somewhat of an experimental approach to see how things go.” 

Wauls adds that alcohol will have to be consumed in the specific roped-off beer garden area near the amphitheater stage. In addition, several food trucks will be on hand to serve food, and, as usual, guests are allowed to bring outside food into the park. 

Admission is free, though volunteers will be collecting donations towards the Long’s Park Amphitheater Foundation. 

While the Day of Music is not being held expressly to replace the regular season-closing patriotic concert, Board president Dave Wauls does see it as a net positive. 

“We knew we couldn't do the patriotic concert, so we wanted to give a little gift...a big gift, really, but we wanted to give them something,” says Wauls during a recent interview. 

Headliners include New Orleans brass band Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Brooklyn Americana band The National Reserve, and Nashville-based Franklin & Marshall grad Shannon McNally. In terms of homegrown talent, Tuck Ryan, The Wild Hymns and Tractor Jerry and the Mud Bucket will perform in between the national acts. 

The previously announcedfinal concert of the regular Long’s Park Summer Music Series, a tribute to the Live Aid benefit concert, organized by Phil Kresge on Sunday, Aug. 29, is accepting food donations towards Lancaster Food Hub. Items that concertgoers can bring includes canned vegetables, shelf-stable microwave meals and white and brown rice.  

“We're able to do these things because people like this and support this,” says Long’s Park board member and chief organizer of the Day of Music, Tony Kirchner. “A couple of bucks goes a long way towards perpetuating what we can do and offer.” 

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