Lance Jones

Music fan who became GM of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Pavilion and Live Nation VP

Lance Jones managed one of the nation’s top ten amphitheatres for 17 years, the 23 thousand seat venue located in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania known first as Star Lake Amphitheatre and later the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Pavilion.  Under his direction the amphitheater held hundreds of concerts and hosted dozens of major music festivals.  One of the highlights of Lance’s career was hosting the Farm Aid Concert in 2002 with Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, Kid Rock, John Mellencamp, and Neil Young.  With a 28 year career in the music business in both record promotion and concert promotion Lance played a major role in keeping Pittsburgh’s vibrant music scene alive.

Lance Jones, a native of Butler, Pennsylvania grew up listening to the great rock bands of the 1960s and became an avid record collector.  He was a frequent visitor to Dave Kleeman’s popular Butler record store Exile Records.  During high school Lance was a roadie for the Kleeman brothers band King Kong.  At Penn State his strong interest in rock put Lance behind the mike at WPSU-FM 91.5 as an evening disk jockey.  After college he opened and managed the Exile Records store in Cranberry Township.  He then was hired by the international record distributor Warner-Elektra-Atlantic (WEA) to do merchandising and promotion at record stores across the Pittsburgh area.  He then became the marketing manager for the National Record Mart, which operated a 70+ retail music store chain in six states.  With a tip from a friend, Lance got an interview with Paul Martha at the Civic Arena and landed his first job in the concert business.  In the mid 1980s Lance was Director of Booking for the Pittsburgh Civic Arena.  He spearheaded an open-air concert series opening the Civic Arena’s venue’s world-renowned “retractable dome” for great nights of music under the Pittsburgh skyline. 

At the Arena Lance worked with its director Tom Rooney.  When Pace entertainment announced its planned construction of the Star Lake Amphitheater Tom Rooney was hired as its executive director to oversee its construction and management.  The venue opened with two sold out Billy Joel concerts in 1990.  In January 1991, the second year of the amphitheater’s existence, Tom Rooney hired Lance to be the marketing director of Star Lake.  Lance became the General Manager of Star Lake in 1995, after Tom Rooney became president of Pace Facilities Group and moved to Texas.  Under Lance’s leadership the Burgettstown amphitheatre held hundreds of concerts drawing millions of attendees from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia .  The amphitheater hosted many music festivals including Farm Aid, Lollapalooza, the Lilith Fair, Ozzfest, The Van's Warped Tour, H.O.R.D.E., Projekt Revolution, Crüe Fest 2, and The Mayhem Festival.

In 1997 the SFX Corporation purchased Star Lake Amphitheatre and Pace Entertainment, gaining control of 47 concert venues in 22 markets across U.S.  SFX went on another buying spree in 1998 acquiring concert promoters.  Spending hundreds of millions SFX acquired Bill Graham Presents of San Francisco, New York's Delsener/Slater Enterprises, and many other promoters.  SFX acquired Pittsburgh based DiCesare-Engler Productions in 1998. Lance joined forces with Rich Engler and Ed Travesari  to book and promote concerts at the Chevy Amphitheatre at Station Square, the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling, and a clubs throughout the Pittsburgh area.  Clear Channel Communications purchased SFX for $3 billion in stock in March of 2000.  Lance Jones became the regional Vice President for Clear Channel Entertainment’s Pittsburgh region.  Lance oversaw all of the Clear Channel / Live Nation operations at the PGP, the Station Square Chevy Amphitheater.  The Pittsburgh Post Gazette named Lance as one of the Top 50 Pittsburgh Cultural Leaders in 2001.  Channel Entertainment was spun off by Clear Channel Communications and became Live Nation in 2005.  In 2008 after 17 years promoting concerts at the Star Lake/PGP venue Lance left the music business to work with non-profit organizations.

During his career Lance produced and promoted events for several non-profit organizations including the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Free Care Fund, the Shanksville Flight 93 Memorial, and Kids Voice.  In 2010 He became a Senior Account Executive, in Broadcast Sales & Underwriting, for WQED Multimedia, Pittsburgh.

Lance Jones continues his interest in music with his blog where he presents weekly music mixes of great songs and reviews and recommends concert DVDs.

Civic Arena Music Under the Stars Series
Star Lake/PGP/First Niagara Amphitheatre
Farm Aid 2002 -Photo by Sears Hallett