Archive for Amusement Tax

Ship U. to township: We ain’t payin your amusement tax

From the Sentinel Online: “A lawyer for Shippensburg University says the university will go to court rather than cooperate in the collection of an amusement tax adopted in Shippensburg Township.”

Jeffrey Hawkins — attorney for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education — cites legal precedent that he says protects state entities from local taxes.

In an Aug. 26 letter he wrote “the university will be forced to challenge any attempt by Shippensburg Township to assess the amusement tax … or to impose any obligation on the university to collect the tax from patro

Full story HERE

(Thanks to @Dani_PA for the tip)

08/08/08 Recap

First- a big thanks to all who showed the love this past Friday night at The Abbey Bar at Appalachian Brewing Company for our eight band extravaganza.

Shows like last Friday’s are never meant to be a money-maker for me, personally, as a promoter. With eight bands, one DJ duo, two sound rigs, two sound guys, two light rigs and a shitload of hospitality, promotion and that pesky amusement tax, there’s certainly not much room for profit on an eight dollar ticket.

But, the people arrived- and everything got (mostly) covered- which is a good thing.

One thing that I’m kicking myself about in hindsight is that there wasn’t enough time for me to draft up a little handout for everyone who entered the room. The plan was to print a little card with a brief explanation of the amusement tax.

You see, The City of Harrisburg- despite having zero participation in this event- stands to earn more from this show than any of the bands did (or the promoters, for that matter) and that, my friends, is my point.

Thanks to all of the bands for keeping things on point and especially to Chile, Phil Wheeler and Mississipi Joe for the incredible production values of the night. Eight bands- each with between ten and twenty inputs- and not a single squeal of feedback.

Here are some video highlights- courtesty of Mississipi Joe-

To Be A High Powered Executive-

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The Shackeltons-

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Kilego Vert-

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MJ Project-

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Mark Your Calendars- 08.08.08

I’m doing another show.

It’s not a relaunch.

It’s not a CD Release party.

It’s not really to celebrate anything in particular.

Just a great night of music.

Eight bands.

Eight bucks.

August 8 at 8.

Watch this space for the full details….soon.

Five Reasons why MusicFest Speaks Volumes about The State of The City

We’ve been here before.

If you’ve read my previous post about the lackluster display of talent at any of Harrisburg’s Arts/Kipona/Music Fests, I apologize for being redundant.

But in the spirit of speaking my mind about the things that are happening in Harrisburg today, I feel overwhelmingly compelled to write this post.

Here, in some sort of order, are five reasons why Harrisburg’s American Music Fest is personification of the mismanagement and fucked up priorities of The City of Harrisburg in it’s current incarnation.

1. Too much corporate presence. 

What stuck out in my mind the most about Muisc Fest this year? All of the damn corporate sponsor presence. Sure, it’s something of a necessary evil when producing a financially burdensome event like Music Fest, but one would think that with all of that Comcast/Belco/Coca-Cola/Patriot-News/Capital Blue Cross/Kibble Select/Hilton/Crowne Plaza/Citadel Broadcasting/BathFitters money involved that we would have been able to book a more interesting and enticing schedule.

I mean, really…is it just me (and everyone I’ve talked to) or did the schedule at this years Music Fest especially suck?  Which brings me to number two.

2. The lineup really, really, really, really, REALLY, really sucked. 

No wait…did I make that clear? The lineup REALLY sucked. I’m not going to go name-by-name here because, obviously, there were a couple of good acts.

A couple.

Out of nearly a hundred acts over three days, was a single one ever featured in Rolling Stone? Was a single one ever a hot blog-band? Was a single one ever on Letterman or Leno or even Conan?

Look. The city spends a lot of money buying the talent for this event- and in my opinion (as a seasoned talent buyer) the city got hosed with the amount of money spent compared to the level of talent at the Music Fest.

Have you ever been to the MusikFest in Bethlehem? Here are just a few of the headliners playing this years’ MusikFest in Bethlehem: Jethro Tull, John Fogerty, Roseanne Cash and Phil Vassar.

That’s in O Little Town of Bethlehem. Just about ninety miles from here.

Oh, who else is playing? Avril Lavigne, Live and Collective Soul, John Gorka, Kool and The Gang, Citizen Cope, Stone Temple Pilots, Jeffery Gaines, Roseanne Cash…and then there are the support bands.

3. Harrisburg’s Music Fest is personification of what’s wrong with the big-picture in this town. 

You see, it’s not that Harrisburg sucks.

It’s just that the people who are running Harrisburg suck. 

I’m a big proponent of “Do the best with what you’ve got.”

I live a self-appointedly minimalist existence. But I do the best with what I’ve got. A LOT of people are working and living paycheck-to-paycheck, week-to-week. But they do the best with what they’ve got.

The City of Harrisburg, however, seems to do the bare minimum..the absolute least…with what they’ve got.

What are we so afraid of as a community?

What, do you people think that things can get any WORSE?

4. Too much carnie food. 

I love funnel cake. And I love sausage and peppers.

I really, really do.

But I can do without miles and miles of seven dollar lemonade, eight dollar Gyro’s, hot dogs that cost too much that aren’t even Sabrett’s and “smoothies” for eight bucks that are no more than Crystal Light mixed with crushed ice.

We had a slammin Gyro Salad and a Banana/Strawberry smoothie. It was quite a good salad and a thirst-quenching smoothie. But it cost seventeen dollars. 




For some lettuce, peppers, sliced lamb meat and ice and Crystal Light mix.

But do you know why it cost seventeen dollars for a meal that should cost maybe nine? Ten with tip?

5. The City charges an arm and a leg for food vendor spots at MusicFest. 

Oh, you didn’t see any local pizza shops with a vendor spot, right? But Pizza Hut was there.

No local hot dog vendors, right? (There are about a half dozen in the city that I can think of off the top of my head)

Nonna’s wasn’t even slinging Italian Ices.

Because ultimately, folks, The City of Harrisburg’s Music Fest isn’t about a festival of Music. It’s about selling vendor locations and securing corporate sponsorships of the stages to cast the illusion that the current administration is doing something good for the people.

Look, I know I may come across as a “blowhard” or “rabble rouser” or “some dude with too much time on his hands who likes to knock what other people are doing” but really, I’m none of that.

I’m just a guy from Jersey who’s seen a lot of great things and who’s lived in some fantastic communities who, incidentally, sees the potential for Harrisburg to be a truly great city.

But our potential is being circumvented by greedy, self-serving, opportunistic, monomaniacal “leaders” who only care about profiteering off of shady land and development deals while pissing away the hard-earned dollars of the taxpayers of this potentially-wonderful city.

Wake up and smell the shit that’s being fed to you, Harrisburg.

It’s time for a change.

And MusicFest is only one example of the gross mismanagement of city funds.

The Hackensaw Fiddle Fiasco

The Backstory:

Friday June 20, The Hackensaw Boys played a lively set to a lively crowd at ABC.

Sometime between when they passed out in their hotel room at the Comfort Inn Riverside in Harrisburg (4AM-ish) and when they woke up Saturday morning (around 9:30?), some person or persons entered their hotel room and boosted a bunch of their shit: laptops, iPods, wallets, cash…

The Harrisburg police arrived over an hour after they were initially called…

And here’s the video of what followed…

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