If variety is the spice of life, then options and alternatives are true delights. Cue the My Heroes Stage in five, four, three, two, one.
My Heroes Stage is central Pennsylvania’s newest live music venue. Located at Hollywood Casino in Grantville, it’s bringing big-name recording artists from the musical realms of rock, pop and country and western to the Harrisburg region.
For Hollywood Casino, the venue is a way to expand its business footprint, to spread its entertainment wings. But the real winners are music-loving locals.
“My Heroes Stage is more than just another entertainment venue at the casino,” said Dan Ihm, vice president and general manager at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. “We wanted to provide a different experience. We’re not here to compete with Hershey. We’re here to complement them. They bring in a different type of artist than we would bring in.”
More than just another concert, a show at My Heroes Stage at Hollywood Casino is an intimate experience in music.
Located on the north side of the complex, My Heroes Stage is within walking distance of the casino building, and the picturesque Blue Mountains serve as the enormous stage’s scenic backdrop. The venue’s outdoor seating can accommodate 5,000 guests, and concerts are staged in a festive, carnival-style atmosphere.
Vendors, food trucks and outdoors bars are located nearby, admission is reasonably priced, and parking is free.
“I went to see Journey last summer, just to see what it was like,” said Glenn Hamilton, program director and morning host for Harrisburg radio station, WRVV 97.3 FM. “The thing I was impressed with was how big the stage was and the quality of the production. For a first-year endeavor, they put on a great show. Nobody knew what to expect. You’re surrounded by the mountains, and the setting is absolutely beautiful.”
From a business standpoint, My Heroes Stage was an opportunity born of a pandemic. With COVID-19 restrictions easing, August 2021 proved to be the perfect timing for the opening of a new outdoor music venue.
Or, as Ihm put it, “We seized the moment last year, and now it’s growing.”
“I think, overall, we’re just making Dauphin County more of a destination,” he said. “We’re creating entertainment value. We’re bringing in new people who may not have come here before. The more reasons we provide for people to come into the area, the more opportunities for economic growth.”
Last year, My Heroes Stage offered a limited series of six shows, a schedule that included music legend John Fogerty, comedian Larry The Cable Guy and the rock band, Journey. The 2022 schedule has expanded to include 15 concerts, featuring such big names as Martina McBride, Bush, Big & Rich, Collective Soul, Rick Springfield, Men At Work and John Waite.
“I think they’ve got a great place that fits into the local live music scene,” said Hamilton. “There is a need, and it fills a need in that market. There is no better way for an artist or a band to connect with their audience than through a live performance. You’re there in person with someone you like or love.”
There’s also a direct community element to My Heroes Stage.
The venue is named in honor of active military, veterans, police, firefighters and first responders. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from shows is donated to myheroes charities.
“The concept of My Heroes is part of our loyalty program,” Ihm said. “Penn National is very involved in providing services to the military. It was very important to us to give back and provide live entertainment to the community. For me, it’s about giving back to all the people who have given so much to us and our community.”
In a unique way, My Heroes Stage represents a natural entertainment progression of Hollywood Casino and Penn National. Thoroughbred horse racing at the Grantville property began on August 30, 1972, and Hollywood Casino was built in 2008.
“You have all these conveniences, all these different things to do, in one spot,” Ihm said. “In my mind, there’s not a better place to go. People can come here, and they don’t have to gamble. We just want to introduce more people to our product. We’re in the entertainment business, and we do it well.”
There are few vehicles with as much universal appeal as music. Music possesses the power to bridge generations and bring people together.
“Central Pennsylvania loves live music,” Hamilton said. “Now, it seems like there’s more of it, with so many different venues. None of the venues are hurting; they’re all doing well. My advice would be, buy a ticket, go experience a show and be your own judge. There’s nothing else like it.”
My Heroes Stage is located at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, 777 Hollywood Blvd., Grantville. For more information, visit www.hollywoodpnrc.com/entertainment/myheroes-stage.
If you like what we do, please support our work. Become a Friend of TheBurg!