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NBD plays the York College Stage Friday evening in Binns Park. The 11th annual Launch Music Conference & Festival brought over 160 bands to several stages around Lancaster City. Friday April 26, 2019

When considering Launch Music Conference and Festival's digital event this weekend on Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25, the term "Through hell or high water" comes to mind.

For the last five months, as festival founder and director Jeremy Weiss planned what would have been the 12th year of the festival that brings hundreds of musicians to downtown Lancaster city, he was also planning a digital festival just in case COVID-19 was still a factor. Even leading up to the week of the conference, Weiss had planned to go through with a version of past years' "Fest Friday," showcasing local bands in Binns Park.

Nine days before the Binns Park shows were set to start, the City of Lancaster pulled the permit.

"Our ambition was to set a standard and set an example not only for the community, but frankly, for the music communities across the country that you could so something in a responsible and safe way," Weiss says. 

However, Weiss insists that Launch was always going to happen some way, in some form, and the festival's mix of performances and panels will happen throughout Friday and Saturday.

Through the years, Launch has carved out its own niche by offering behind-the-scenes industry experts to speak to enterprising attendees. That mission hasn't changed in the festival's digital iteration. Among the music industry sages offering advice include booking agents and legal representation from the likes of rappers G-Eazy and Eminem.

Weiss says all 8,000 bands that applied this year to perform at Launch were given the chance to submit video of some sort.

"Some bands compiled 'best of' live performances over the last several years, some of them did dedicated performances for Launch," Weiss says. "We left that up to them because, at the time, we were looking at staging 176 live performers while also staging nearly 100 performances online."

As usual, the lineup will feature a mix of local acts as well as national acts, including Fred Mascherino, former vocalist of Taking Back Sunday, who recorded a new set just for Launch.

Guests will have free access to all digital content released by Launch over Friday and Saturday, with the option to upgrade to VIP for an additional $20, which fittingly grants you a Launch face mask, as well as a shirt and VIP badge.

To check out Launch Music Conference this weekend, visit

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