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Live music returns to Gettysburg

After a year of eerie quiet in the borough’s streets and establishments, tourists and locals are again filling the town. And with them are coming healthy doses of live music.

As the various venues around the county fill up their schedules, local musicians are pleased to be back performing and earning a living after a year of inactivity.

The Witherbees on the Gettys Square Art OASIS

“Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic has been another catastrophic blow to music all over the world,” said Ploughman Cider Taproom owner Ben Wenk.

Speaking of the pandemic year, Gettysburg Borough Council member Matt Moon said “all the things I would do to facilitate live music in my life have been on hold. I think the closest I have gotten to live music is sitting on my porch with a guitar or banjo and trying to not annoy the neighbors.”

Moon said making music online can’t compare with the real deal. “Making your own music is an excellent alternative to fill the hole of live music. Still, many of us don’t have the musical skills to make this a reality.”

With venues opening, there are a variety of live choices through the summer, inside and outside, in restaurants, bars, wineries, cideries, and more.

See the Gettysburg Connection Live Music Calendar for a complete list of local live music.

Liquor Control Board Rules

After the borough learned this year that Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board laws do not allow live music in public spaces in front of establishments selling alcohol, outdoor music that had been held in front of the Ploughman Cider Taproom on the square has been moved to a nearby parklet sponsored by the Adams County Arts Council.

“We don’t enforce LCB laws; we also do not want to issue conflicting permits,” said Director of Planning, Zoning, and Code Enforcement Carly Marshall. “We would only get involved if it’s a violation of the noise ordinance.”

Marshall said the arts council had been issued a special events permit that allows outdoor music during the week until 9:00 p.m. and on weekends until 10:00 p.m. The permit must be renewed monthly.

Moon said he was optimistic that venues could remain open. “I have the same hopes everyone has. I think this summer we will see a lot of music outdoors. I hope by Spring 2022 things will feel normal again.”

“This music scene is dependent on all those it impacts,” said Wenk. “The scene is always changing due to a variety of circumstances. It ebbs and flows with local economies and the culture of the area, so it’s hard to pin down.”

Paying his respects to local musician Dan Gallagher who died unexpectedly in 2019, Wenk said “I’d hope that with Dan’s legacy in mind we’ll see more venues, more original acts, and a larger more diverse music scene in Gettysburg in the next 5-10 years. Other communities might have just as many venues, and bands hired any given weekend, but so often these bands don’t carry a diversity of sound and an authenticity that the musicians in the Gettysburg scene do.”

Rock on Gettysburg!

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Maya is a Gettysburg College freshman who has not yet declared a major. She is a graduate of Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens NY where she edited the school magazine, The Mercury. Maya is a member of the Arista honor society and the Red Cross, and has held jobs working with emotionally-disturbed children and adults and with service horses.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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