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Village changes up Fourth of July lineup: Hit N Run not included

BY: Jennifer Lysiak, Lancaster Editor | January 31, 2013

LANCASTER- For those who have attended the Village of Lancaster Independence Day Celebration for the last few years you may have come accustom to seeing Buffalo’s own popular band, Hit N Run playing on the Fourth of July, but this year Hit N Run will not be a part of the celebration lineup.

Lead vocals and guitar player, Mark Valentino, who started Hit N Run, was at Monday’s night Lancaster Village Board meeting where he asked the board the business reasons as to why Hit N Run would not have the opportunity to play again on the Fourth after doing so for several years.

“I think we’ve done very well and I’m sure you agree with that,” Valentino stated to the board. “We’re part of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and we’ve done opening acts for Frankie Valli and Poison.”

Village of Lancaster Special Events Director Jennie Smith said the band was offered a contract for July 5, because that was what the village had available and they were unable to perform.

“We also offered the Taste of Lancaster and the beginning of Fourth of July, in the afternoon, and they’re not able to do that,” said Smith. “So, unfortunately we can’t accommodate [them]. We wanted them on specific dates that they’re not available.”

Smith said they can entertain a contract for 2014.

Valentino did verify that the band was not available Friday, July 5.

“This isn’t about Hit N Run, because I’m able to get two shows for about 50 percent more money in Clarence and Cheektowaga,” remarked Valentino. “It is basically about what’s most cost effective and what the best thing is for the residents of Lancaster and the taxpayers. If it made good business sense to book another band, if the band was less expensive than us, I wouldn’t be here today.”

The band that was hired on the Fourth of July, Breakaway, will be paid $850. Valentine said he put a bid in for $140 per person, and with a six-person band that’s $840.

Village Trustee Edward M. Marki told Valentino that the night the board went over this; the board knew the band was not available for the fifth and he objected to it and asked the board to reconsider.

Smith said she did not know they were booked and the village has always paid Breakaway $700 for other events and it has increased to $850 for the Fourth.

“It’s a premium day. It’s a holiday and that’s why they requested more money,” remarked Smith.

Valentino still questioned as to why if the band did such a great job on the Fourth of July would the village try to push them to another date.

Village Trustee William C. Schroeder said the village has the right to choose any venue they wish.

“You’ve played the Fourth of July for a number of years and there are probably just as many people who want to see your band, and you do have an excellent band, as there are other people who want to see a different band,” Schroeder stated to Valentino. “You were offered other opportunities that you could not accommodate and the reason why they wanted you on the fifth is because they knew you were popular and you could compensate perhaps a lesser evening attendance wise. So, you were the draw on the fifth. I personally agree with Mrs. Smith. She made a decision to change bands and here we are arguing over this.”

Village Clerk/Treasurer Michael Stegmeier said there were some emails that came through his office indicating that some residents would have preferred to see a different band.

“They wanted a change of venue and I don’t think there is a thing wrong with that,” commented Schroeder. “I would think from a business point of view he was getting a compliment, because we wanted him to come in on a night that we didn’t think we could bring in as many people. We knew he would be able to help us out with that.”

Smith said they wanted to change the entertainment around and this is why this year’s celebration will also include a country night with West of the Mark.

In addition, Valentino presented the board with a petition with about 300 signatures, not all from Lancaster, agreeing that Hit N Run should be a part of the village’s entertainment on the Fourth.

Smith said those who sign the petition were not aware of what they were signing and when it comes down to it Valentino is upset because three members of Hit N Run quit and created Breakaway.

Village of Lancaster Mayor Paul M. Maute said the board understands his concerns and when it comes down to it he was offered time slots.

“I’m not going to bicker and bicker about a band,” remarked Maute.

The issue was eventually brought to a close to move onto a scheduled public hearing.

The next Village of Lancaster Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the Municipal Building Council Chambers, 5423 Broadway, in Lancaster.

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