Sunday, November 02, 2008

York Comes Alive

I spend a lot of time talking about all the great things happening in Lancaster, as well as Harrisburg, but I want to make sure I give York its due as well. Because something is definitely happening in York, and some very cool music is coming to the area...but more on that later.

About a year ago a group of concerned citizens formed an ad hoc committee with the goal of bringing fairly prominent regional and national acts to the city, particularly at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center. After several meetings things fizzled, but a few of these folks wouldn't give up. In particular, my friend Sean Kenny had a real vision for what could happen in downtown York if only people could be exposed to some real, quality music. Oh sure there were the occasional bands that came through, but entertainment in York seemed to primarily center around the York Fair and guys in big hats. Sean partnered with the guys from CODO, who also have a very real vision for downtown York.

Developers Bill Swartz and Eric Menzer are the principals behind CODO, which is a group of luxury condos being built in an old factory in downtown York. Swarts and Menzer are smart enough not to buy into the "if you build it they will come" mentality. They realize that just building nice rental units in the downtown area won't attract people. They know that you have to actually give people a reason to move to the city. The first part of that plan was the creation of the Fresh York campaign which seeks to promote the arts and culture in the region. And the campaign was also designed to poke fun at the biggest knock against York, with t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan, "York isn't boring - you are!"

The next step in the campaign was the aforementioned partnering with Kenny and others to actually do something about bringing music to the Strand. The result: CapLive Music. As of last month, the Capitol Theatre at the Strand began hosting some very cool concerts. The first concert was Philly and regional favorite Hoots & Hellmouth.

October also saw a show from Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts. And coming up there are several more great shows including Kathleen Edwards and John Doe with their "Hurtin' and Flurtin' tour" this Saturday, November 8th.

Other shows coming to York and the Strand-Capitol Performing Art Center include:

11/15 - Barleyjuice
12/4 - XPN Welcomes David Byrne
12/27 - XPN Welcomes Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers

...and the guys at Cap Live Music will continue booking these shows, I'm sure.

So if someone ever asks you "What's there to do in York?" just point them to the Cap Live Music site. I love what these guys are doing and how they are going about it, and hopefully more folks in York will get on board and support these efforts to make York come alive.

You can read more about Cap Live Music in the November issue of Fly Magazine.

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