Lititz residents, artists converge at Roots & Blues Fest

By on February 28, 2018

 

The Dull Blue Lights will perform at Zoetropolis March 9 at 6 p.m. (Photo by Caity Photography)

During the weekend of March 9, the fifth annual Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival will see 67 artists performing on 11 stages across nine venues.

And whether it’s behind the scenes or in the spotlight, several local residents and natives will be working hard to ensure the weekend goes off without a hitch.

One such duo is husband and wife Michael and Lauren Ellis of Lititz, who are participating this year by volunteering Saturday evening at a VIP event and after party at Zoetropolis.

“This is my fourth year volunteering and my husband’s second,” says Ellis. “We have become friends with a number of folks we’ve met while doing this. It’s without a doubt my favorite Lancaster event.”

When not on the clock, she is looking forward to catching JJ Grey and Mofro, a band she’s been following for several years.

Lititz resident Bailey Fulginiti makes her festival debut this year as part of the trio that bears her name.

A classically trained soprano, she takes her inspiration from the likes of Norah Jones, Billie Holiday, and Adele. And this year, she’ll have a little help from a familiar face — her father Todd Fulginiti, who plays several instruments in the trio.

This unique partnership began through their mutual love of music. Looking to try something new, Todd, who grew weary of what he was doing musically at the time, demoted himself from group leader to sideman and started booking his jazz gigs around his daughter. In November, he invited festival organizer Rich Ruoff to one of their shows. Rich loved what he heard, and decided to book them for the upcoming festival.

Fulginiti credits her father for exposing her to a wide range of music at an early age.

“My dad has definitely been my biggest musical inspiration,” she says. “By growing up around so much music and so many different styles and genres, I got to develop my breadth of musical knowledge,” she said. “My sister and I were always encouraged to play instruments and get involved with groups at school. In the trio, it’s nice to look over and see a familiar and comforting face beside you.”

When not performing, she’s very excited to catch Morgan James live on stage over the weekend at the event.

“I got to see her two years ago when she performed at the festival, and she blew me away,” she said. I’ve been a huge fan of hers since I was in college. She is an absolute incredible musician, and I’m continually inspired by her work.”

When asked, Todd says he is most proud of how far his daughter has come musically in just a few short years.

The Bailey Fulginiti Trio will play The Chameleon Club lounge March 9 at 10 p.m.

“It’s been fun to hear Bailey develop her sound and begin taking more risks on stage,” he says. “Our first gig was four years ago when she was a college freshman. Now everything feels good and doing shows is fun and relaxing as it should be.”

Originally from Lititz but now calling Philadelphia their home, The Dull Blue Lights are planning to bring their unique brand of basement soul to Lancaster. Lead singer Todd Fausnacht is no stranger to the fest: two years ago, he performed a solo show at the event. This year, he’s brought his entire band and is looking forward to a homecoming of sorts.

“It’s fascinating to see the city turn into such a supportive community for artists and musicians of all walks of life,” he said. “The event has become a staple of the community of Lancaster and we are happy to be a part of the show. We always look forward to playing the historic city and also running into old friends and family.”

Catch The Dull Blue Lights March 9 at Zoetropolis, 114 N. Water St. at 6 p.m.

The Bailey Fulginiti Trio will perform March 10 at the Chameleon Club lounge at 10 p.m.

Visit lancasterrootsandblues.com for tickets.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423.

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