Most professional industries have taken a hit this year due to COVID-19 and its spread, especially those that rely on crowds of people to function. Bars and restaurants feel the heat of the pandemic and live music almost seems like a thing of the past. As venues all across the world are forced to cancel or indefinitely postpone shows, everyone is asking the same thing: when and how will we ever hear live music performances again? Musicians have been holding online streams for their fans while some larger venues have started drive-in concerts. Many smaller venues are suffering, as many are not equipped for alternative measures. Fortunately, right here in Millersville just a short walk from campus, Phantom Power is able to put on live shows in their makeshift beer garden.
Recently opened in February of this year, Phantom Power is a bar and music venue that showcases local talent. The venue had a short run before they were forced to close their doors indefinitely, just like all other nonessential businesses amidst the pandemic.
In early June, they announced on their Facebook page the opening of their beer garden, a makeshift outdoor seating area arranged in a socially distanced fashion. Event tickets are available to be pre-purchased online or at the door, depending on capacity and sales limits.
On nights without planned events, guests are still able to sit down and enjoy their evening. The venue offers table service only with limited menu items available, allowing alcoholic beverage purchases within the COVID-19 guidelines set in place. The menu is offered contactless and readily available to customers via a QR code printed and laminated on tables. Instructions to scan the code with a smartphone are attached. Seating is limited to four guests per table and, like other places open for sit-down service, masks are required while not seated. The live performances are sometimes limited to 21+ unless accompanied by a parent/guardian but some all ages shows are put on as well.
One of their most recent all ages shows proved that Phantom Power is not just for casual bar-going. The venue showcased The Stonewall Vessels, a local group described as psychedelic, genre-bending rock who use influences of punk, indie and 60s rock to create their own sound. Set up in the building’s parking lot, the band was situated in the front corner of the beer section and was able to be seen from each table. They succeeded in mesmerizing the small crowd of about 35 people with their tunes for the whole evening; they even played an encore at the end. The original music had people tapping their toes along to the beat and directed their attention to the performers rather than who they were seated with. The members were upbeat and interacted with the crowd in between songs played.
The venue’s next event is an all-age karaoke night on Sept. 17. This will begin at 6 p.m., end at 8 p.m., and entry will be free. The next day, Sept. 18, will be their next live performance event which will feature local music groups “One Too Many,” a self-proclaimed diverse, genre shifting band, and “No Bad Days,” an eclectic musical bunch that features the vibraphone. This event will be open to all ages but will require a $5 entry fee.
Phantom Power is here to provide entertainment and a good time to both students and residents of Millersville and Lancaster. With the current climate and state of the world, it is a breath of fresh air to sit, relax and enjoy a live performance.