BY JOHN COLLINGE
The annual Rites of Spring Festival in Gettysburg, Pa. typically runs like clockwork and for the most part its 13th edition, May 6–8, delivered as expected. That is, despite the death of Riverside band guitarist Piotr Grudzinski causing fill-in Spock’s Beard to headline Saturday, while The Strawbs’ late arrival pushed them from Friday night’s showcase slot to a Sunday afternoon cameo.en the best-laid plans can and do go haywire, as event organizer George Roldan drolly attests. “We printed up T-shirts with The Strawbs on them, we printed up posters with The Strawbs on them. And if you lose a band all of a sudden it’s like, ‘Wow, that band didn’t play there.’ It’s not easy to replace headliners.
“In this business I’ve learned you must have backup plans in place. People expect us to put a good product out there; they expect something sensational onstage,” he said. “Dealing with these kinds of things is the nature of the beast.”
Dealing well enough, in this case, to ensure another year in what now is the world’s longest-running indoor progressive music festival. Roldan’s proverbial “beast” returns to downtown Gettysburg’s 850-seat Majestic Theater next May 5–7. Performers confirmed so far: Sunday headliner Anglagard (Sweden), The Fierce and the Dead (U.K.) plus American groups Unified Past, The Aaron Clift Experiment and the Neal Morse Band (Saturday’s headliner). More will be announced in coming months.
After late changes this year’s lineup proceeded thusly: Kinetic Element (U.S.) opened Friday night followed by Magic Pie (Norway). Saturday convened U.S. groups No More Pain, Circuline, Dave Kerzner Band and Spock’s Beard. Performing Sunday: international ensemble The Fringe, The Strawbs (U.K.), Bent Knee (U.S.), Comedy of Errors (Scotland) and Zebra (U.S.). After-hours revelry at the Aspire Gettysburg Hotel included shows by U.S. acts 3rDegree and Out of the Beardspace.
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