One of the things I look forward to most about our Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs issue is the opportunity to spotlight local folks whose great work has gone largely unrecognized. And Jesse Lundy certainly falls into that category.
I first met Lundy 17 years ago, when I was managing editor at Philadelphia Weekly and he was working with live-music visionary Richard Kardon at the Point in Bryn Mawr. The venue has long since closed, but Point Entertainment continues to bring top-caliber touring acts to our area—many of them performing at the now-thriving Ardmore Music Hall, easily one of the best small venues in the region.
I recently caught up with Lundy, our Best Advocate for Live Music on the Main Line, to find out more about what fuels his passion for the great work he does.
MLT: How did your upbringing influence what you do now?
JL: I was actually born in Philadelphia but largely raised in rural Maine, where I lived until my dad suggested I come here and go to high school at Lower Merion in 1985. My mom and stepfather turned me on to great music by Doug Sahm, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and David Bromberg. Back here, Dad gave me Hard Again by Muddy Waters and Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
MLT: How did you first start booking shows here?
JL: I was lucky enough to work with Larry Ahearn, who booked the original Main Point. When I started with him at New Park Entertainment in 1997 and booking shows at the Point, I had a great resource to learn what had worked there in the past. It was [Electric Factory Concerts’] Sid Payne who encouraged me to work with Rich Kardon, as most of my shows really belonged in a nice, seated listening room.
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Lundy at Ardmore Music Hall//photo by tessa marie images
MLT: What are your most memorable Main Line shows?
JL: I’d have to say Sam Phillips in June 2004. We sold out two shows easily. I’d also mention having Norah Jones play for a $10 ticket, or the Avett Brothers as an opening act.
MLT: You’ve been so committed to this area. Why stick around?
JL: I’ve always felt comfortable on my home turf. Philly is, in my opinion, the most competitive market in the country. When I talk to other promoters around the country, they can’t believe what we have to deal with here—and it’s certainly not getting any easier. But we’re lucky because we have a station like WXPN driving audiences to see new artists.
MLT: Any thoughts on the future of live music on the Main Line—and Ardmore Music Hall’s role in it?
JL: I think the new owners of AMH, Tom Linquist and Chris Perella, are going to turn that into an empire. Look at that Dr. John show on July 19—wow!
This year’s Best of the Main Line & Western Suburbs Party will be held Thursday, July 23, at Drexelbrook. Click here for tickets and more info.