York, PA has earned a reputation as a live music destination and has gained prominence in the national music community over the last several years.
South central Pennsylvania is among the best places in the country to live if you like live, original music. We have great local and regional music communities, and we’re also within convenient proximity to larger metropolitan markets; it’s an easy drive to Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia, and if you’re ambitious, New York and Pittsburgh can be visited in a single day.
But thanks to some hardworking local promoters, it’s not necessary to leave York to see national touring acts. Three venues, in particular, have raised the bar in the last few years, each establishing its own distinct vibe. They differ from each other in terms of size and scope, and each one makes diversity a priority. This means that Yorkers can enjoy a rich variety of options and never have to stray too far from home.
One of the best things they have in common is that once a band plays one of these venues, they want to come back and play again. Word is out in the national music community that York is a great city to play, thanks to great rooms, promoters that are good to work with, and appreciative, attentive fans.
The historic, 450-seat Capitol Theatre is home to CapLive, a concert series that launched in summer 2008 and features both up-and-coming and heritage artists. The shows are all ages, general admission, and have established a strong sense of community. The Capitol has two bars, a large balcony, and a gorgeous, uplit proscenium arch that makes for beautiful photographs. There isn’t a bad seat in the house and the room is acoustically perfect – everything sounds amazing there.
Location: Part of the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center, 50 North George Street in downtown York.
Past shows have included Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dawes, Hoots & Hellmouth, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Deer Tick, Bonnie “Prince Billy,” The Mountain Goats, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Punch Brothers, John Doe, Justin Townes Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, Josh Ritter, The Lone Bellow, the Wood Brothers, Richard Thompson, The Old 97s, and more.
For more information, visit caplivemusic.com.
Kable House Presents
Kable House Presents is an independent, volunteer-driven initiative that showcases national touring acts in an intimate, listening-room environment. The organizers rent out the space at Central Market about once a month to host the shows. General admission tickets are available to the public, and food and beverages are available for purchase during the shows from featured Central Market vendors.
The series launched with generous support from the community, and continues thanks to additional donations and season ticket sales. A crowdfunding campaign will run throughout the summer to support the fourth season, which will kick off in September 2017.
Location: Central Market, 34 West Philadelphia Street
Past shows: Kable House Presents spans a variety of genres and styles. In their first three seasons, they featured acts like Strand of Oaks, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Grammy winner Dom Flemons, Lydia Loveless, Nicholas David (a finalist on NBC’s The Voice), Patrick Sweany, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Grammy nominee Robbie Fulks, Liz Longley, and Lee Harvey Osmond, as well as a sold-out show with the 10-piece Houston soul band The Suffers.
For more information, visit kablehousepresents.com
Sign of the Wagon
Perhaps the most nontraditional venue in York City is Sign of the Wagon, home of Pete and Lindsey Richards.
Their Victorian rowhome was designed by J.A. Dempwolf in 1904; Pete & Lindsey purchased it in 2009. They received a small, forgivable loan toward the purchase from the citywide Artist Homestead Program, an incentive program for those who will use their home for live/work space that will be open to the public at least some of the time. Lindsey’s art studio is on the second floor, and the third floor is a rehearsal and recording space. The first floor is an art gallery and performance space, and the couple hosts frequent house concerts. They’re also open during First Fridays for those who wish to peruse the current display of artwork.
Location: 154 East Philadelphia Street
Past shows have included Lee Harvey Osmond, Amanda Shires, Andrew Combs, Calvin Johnson, Robert Ellis, and more.
For more information, visit signofthewagon.com