Millennium connects industry, grows Harrisburg’s music brand

Jonathan Spirk, second from left, hopes to lead his midstate rock band, Mileunder, to mainstream success. Mileunder used the Millennium Music Conference and Showcase in Harrisburg to network with other bands as it lines up a tour. - (Photo / Submitted)

John Traynor’s goal is to put Harrisburg on the map as a live music destination.

Jonathan Spirk hopes to lead his midstate rock band — Mileunder — to mainstream success.

Both got the chance to take steps in that direction as the 18th annual Millennium Music Conference and Showcase returned to the Harrisburg area last week.

The four-day event draws the bulk of its attendance on Friday and Saturday for business panels and showcase performances. It’s held to help budding musicians learn more about the business, network with like-minded acts and industry professionals, and provide opportunities to play in front of new audiences in different venues.

Mileunder just rolled out its debut album and used the conference to network with other bands as it lines up a tour.

“I want to take this band national,” Spirk said.

Event organizer John Harris received requests from 500 to 600 bands to play the showcases. Nearly 300 acts were selected to play about 30 venues in the greater Harrisburg area.

For Traynor, president of Stage on Herr at Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center, or HMAC, that not only meant more bands for a full-time live music venue but also acts from all over the country.

“It boosts our revenue. It brings out more people, even from the local community,” he said.

HMAC shows already draw crowds from Maryland, New Jersey and other areas. That benefits local hotels and restaurants. The conference adds to that.

“I don’t always agree with these type of conferences. We open our doors for free and the bands don’t get paid,” Traynor said. “(But) with the amount of talent coming through, it just seemed we needed to participate.”

Jason Scott
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin and Cumberland counties. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com.

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