Lancaster music festival ready to LAUNCH

Ed Gruver//March 31, 2023

Lancaster music festival ready to LAUNCH

Ed Gruver//March 31, 2023

Jeremy Weiss calls music his first language, and the Lancaster native is extremely fluent in it. 

From band member to tour manager to founder of CI Productions, a company he started at age 15 and that has since staged more than 2,000 live shows, the Director and Founder of Launch Music Conference has been a part of the music industry at every level. 

The Director and Founder of LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival in Lancaster is now preparing for the event’s 15th annual showcase, scheduled for April 13-16. Approximately 150 performances, chosen from over 2,000 submissions, will be held at multiple venues – Binns Park, Holiday Inn Lancaster, Marion Court, Marriott Lancaster, and Tellus360. All are within a three-block radius in Lancaster City. 

Over the past years, more than 1,000 artists from across the country have performed a variety of music, including rock, pop, punk, funk, folk, and country. 

“It’s the 15th year and you just keep going, keep doing things and trying to do them well and adapt,” said Weiss. “There’s a phrase in our office – ‘Adapt or die’ – so we’re constantly looking at new subject matter, new modalities, so that we’re meeting people where they are and making sure we’re available to them.” 

LAUNCH also features a conference in which artists, music industry professionals, and fans meet and network in events, panels, parties, and seminars. 

“We try to keep things very current,” Weiss said of the conference. “It’s very folksy and we try to keep it growing and large in terms of numbers, but very small and intimate in terms of feel.” 

There are no specific genres of music at LAUNCH, Weiss stating that there will be multiple stages and spaces for country, hip hop, rock, heavy metal, punk, indie, folk, acoustic, blues, and jazz. 

“We get those artists places, and we have them on 10 or 11 stages at night, and we’ll also see some very well-known acts,” said Weiss. “To put it in headline terms, it’s kind of an all-things weekend. It’s really interesting.” 

Bord and bred in Lancaster, Weiss said he is a champion of the area. 

“I’ve always loved it,” he said. “I’m very excited about the way it’s transformed the last 25 years.” 

His love for music began at an early age. He was part of a band that toured nationally and became engaged, he said, with underground music and its message. 

“There was a lot of social justice in their lyrics that appealed to me as a young teenager,” he said. “There was also a very do-it-yourself ethic, and I think before I was aware of it, I was very entrepreneurial.” 

Weiss’s entrepreneurial spirit was in evidence at an early age and led him to having four paper routes rather than one, nearly getting expelled from school for selling wholesale chocolate bars at break in seventh grade, and filling notebooks with his profit and loss on Hershey flat bars. 

“As much as I was interested in the social justice angle of a lot of underground music of the mid-to-late ‘80s, I was also interested in the fact that they were not relying on the traditional holdings that larger music was worried about, like radio and television,” Weiss said. 

“They were pressing their own records, running ads in their own magazines, doing their own mail orders, doing their own tours, opening their own clubs and, boy, that fascinated me. So, I did the exact same thing.” 

Weiss’s music tastes have since broadened beyond underground rock, but his passion for the industry remains as strong as ever. 

“I just love any type of music or song that makes people viscerally react,” he said. “I think that is so unbelievable, so cool. I’m in awe of the gifts that a musician or a writer has, to get somebody to that place. I think that is awesome.” 

Weiss’s varied background in the music business is now benefitting a new generation of artists. 

“Part of that early experience with the do-it-yourself ethic and how that inspired me, I was learning by doing, you’re learning by making a myriad of mistakes,” he said. “That’s something that would launch what I’m trying to do, which is to say, ‘Hey, maybe we can help you not make costly mistakes, whether they’re costly in regard to your time or finances.” 

Help, as well, to launch careers through his LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival.