We believe the arts express the essence of what it means to be fully human. The Lancaster Festival celebrates the artistic creativity of all cultures, serving as the foundation of year-round community efforts to nurture participation in the arts.
Adopted by the Lancaster Festival Board of Directors
on April 20, 1999.
On August 5, 1984, The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Music Director Christian Badea, presented a Picnic and Pops concert at Ohio University-Lancaster. This was the first concert held at OU-L's outdoor auditorium.
The Lancaster Festival was inaugurated in 1985, under the artistic direction of Maestro Badea. Artistic Advisor Al Romano was joined by Festival Managers Eleanor Hood and Barbara Hunzicker in planning the event. The 1985 Festival had a 8 day run and included two CSO symphony concerts, a CSO chamber concert at St. Mary Church, and a week full of community arts and music events. It concluded with a memorable live battle reenactment on the hills above the OU-L Amphitheatre, accompanied by the CSO performing Beethoven's "Wellington's Victory."
The Festival was extended to 10 days in 1986 and 1987, adding more performance locations throughout the city and expanding the programming for families and children. In the fall of 1987, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra management made the decision to withdraw from the Lancaster Festival to establish its own Picnic & Pops series. Maestro Gary Sheldon was hired as music director and, after auditioning more than 300 professional musicians, created the Lancaster Festival Orchestra.
The Lancaster Festival Orchestra performed its first concert on Saturday, July 23, 1988, beginning the evening with Glinka's "Overture to Ruslan & Ludmilla". That evening's concert also included a special narration of John William's 'Suite from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" by Christopher Reeve.
From the whirlwind beginning in 1985, through its re-organization in 1988, the Lancaster Festival and its orchestra have garnered increasing recognition for excellence. For 10 days in July, the city is transformed, the streets alive with people enjoying the Festival's all-inclusive offerings.
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covered bridge music series
covered bridge music series
1570 Granville Pike, Lancaster, OH
The Covered Bridge Music Series is thrilled to welcome the truly exceptional Bonnie Bishop to the Wagner Theatre stage on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in Texas (by way of Mississippi), Bonnie started out writing and performing more country influenced songs including “Not Cause I Wanted To” recorded by Bonnie Raitt and “The Best Songs Come from Broken Hearts” featured in the ABC hit show, “Nashville”. After taking a break from extensive touring, she went back to school and considered giving up a life in music when Thirty Tigers’ David Macias, and producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton) convinced her that she should make a soul album. It was a decision that would prove to be providential for both Bonnie and her audiences. In 2016, Bonnie released the Cobb produced, “Ain’t Who I Was” marking her triumphant return to a life that she may have once considered leaving behind, but clearly never left her.
Join Bonnie, along with guitarist Ford Thurston, for a memorable evening of dynamic music steeped in soul, blues, rock and country.
Hospitality will begin at 7:00pm with food and beverages available for purchase as well as a cash bar. Doors open at 7:30pm. Music begins at 8:00pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show. Students who present a valid ID at the door will receive free admission on a “first come-first served” basis.
Get tickets today. Click here.
We are proud of our partnership with Ohio University Lancaster on our Covered Bridge Music Series. The series features original songwriters performing their music live throughout the year here in Lancaster. Past performers include Paul Thorn, Langhorne Slim and the Law, Aubrie Sellers, Alejandro Escovedo, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Amanda Shires, Ray Wylie Hubbard, John Fullbright, Elizabeth Cook, Joe Pug, David Mayfield, Parker Millsap, and Humming House. The events take place on the Ohio University Lancaster campus in the newly renovated Wagner Theater or in a beautiful outdoor setting near the historic John Bright #2 Covered Bridge on the University grounds.