This past Saturday (June 19th) was the first ever Brunswick Music Fest in Brunswick, MD. The event was sponsored by local organizations and businesses such as Brunswick Main Street, Frederick County, Beans in the Belfry, and The Citizen and boasted a full afternoon line up of five talented bands. The event was largely a success as there was good food and beverages available, all five bands preformed as promised, and a decent crowd which contained some folks from out of town not just locals. I think the organizers probably learned a few lessons though from this initial go’ round. The event was held down by the railroad station in the two parking lots in front of the building. The upper lot had food and drink vendors and the lower lot is where the stage and a few craft tents were located. This set up created a few logistical problems. The biggest issue was the noise issue. While many bluegrass and blues songs talk about trains and on occasion contain some sound effects, I doubt any artist or listener would want the tunes to be drowned out by the sound of a live train whistle. Unfortunately Saturdays are working days for the railroad and the trains were busy in Brunswick that day, chugging by and blowing whistles. The bands and crowd were good sports about it regardless and locals probably didn’t even notice much. When a train passed the band kept on playing (even louder on occasion) and the crowd kept on bobbing their heads. Another issue was the heat that was amplified by the fact that the event was on top of two parking lots. Luckily there were a few sources of shade off to either side of the stage and that is where the majority of the crowd made themselves comfortable. Although, a few brave souls did venture out into the unprotected middle of the lower lot to do a little dancing here and there. The last logistical issue was the alcohol restriction in the lower lot. I wasn’t able to ask why we could not have alcohol in lower lot where the stage was located, but it was clearly posted and enforced. The reason may have been because of the fact that they were selling glass bottles of beer or because it was some how harder to enforce legal drinking age laws in the lower lot. Either way it was a bit of an annoyance, as one felt they had to hurry up and drink their beer if they wanted to be able to sit in their seats and enjoy the show comfortably. Other than a few logistics there were no other real issues with the event. The Brunswick Music Fest was well organized for a first timer and provided a decent selection of talented and enthusiastic bands that were mostly of a bluegrass sort, but included an R&B act called Chocolate Thunder which many seemed to enjoy and the popular blues group, the Kelly Bell Band.
As food for thought, bluegrass and blues related fest are already quite prevalent in the area and I think the Brunswick Music Fest is really going to have to “up their anti” every year or find some kind of niche to be successful as that type of music festival. It’s going to have to be even more about the music and a little less about being so darn family friendly. Personally, I think it would be great to see a little more variety in genre as well, since literally all the music festivals in the area are blues related. In any case, it’s important to go out and support these types of local event so that they can organizer more events, possibly better events for us in the future. Below are a few pictures from the event. Maybe we’ll see you next year!
View from upper lot
Chocolate Thunder Band during sound check
Blue Moon Rising on stage
Kelly Bell Band from side stage sitting area