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May 1, 2008

My thoughts on Virgin Mobile Festival

kt%20tunstall.jpgI'm really looking forward to covering this fall's Virgin Mobile Festival.

Promoter Seth Hurwitz, who booked the bands for the two-day extravaganza at Pimlico, took a different approach with the lineup this year.

He's betting that two full days of engaging acts like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, KT Tunstall (pictured) and Gogol Bordello will bring more people than one or two big headliners.

I think it's a good strategy.

Pimlico holds 60,000 people, give or take.

Last year, the Police -- one of the hottest touring acts out there -- couldn't fill the place.

All of these smaller (but still formidable) bands just might.

(Photo by Laura Hanifin) 

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:40 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival


It may be a good strategy if the ticket prices were a bit lower. I am encouraged by a quote from Seth on the festival's website where he says that that he's left a few prime stage slots open to book additional bands as the festival gets closer.

I think another good idea would be to throw a couple of local or regional acts into the line-up. It was cool when Spoon invited one of the guys from The Oranges Band (and former Spoon member) out for a tune last year, but otherwise I can't remember Baltimore being represented on either stage. If you're reading this Seth (or Sir Branson), how about adding The Bridge or having Dan Deacon keeping the energy high in between sets?!

Greg, you're thinking of Roman Kuebler from the Oranges Band.

Dan Deacon played in the dance tent last year. But so far he's been the only Baltimore artist to perform at any of the three Virgin Mobile Festivals.

A bit of Virgin Fest trivia for you Mr. Sessa - This year's line-up features the first "repeat" band from one of the two previous years - who is it??

The small-but-good band strategy hinges on the fact that fans of those bands will want to see them in a large-venue setting rather than a small club.

When I goto a festival, I usually am there for the ridiculously big names. Seeing my favorite, more engaging acts are just a bonus, not the reason I bought my ticket.

I know it's not going to happen with this festival, but they should allow open taping like other major festivals (Bonnaroo, Vegoose, All Good)...apart from a handful of major acts, I bet most of the bands would be down for it.

I agree with the thinking. I'd rather pay the big bucks for many good bands than one or two favorites. I'm on the fence this year even though I think it is definitely a better lineup than last year, which I skipped, and maybe even better than the year before, which I went to. The August heat and ticket prices are making be think twice. But it is looking tempting now that I see so many good non-headliners. If I swing free tix, I'll likely be there, unless I have a headache.

It would be nice if they threw another legend into the mix. I nominate Roger Waters, or what-the-hell, a reunited Pink Floyd (I wish). Who wouldn't enjoy seeing a giant pig floating over Pimlico?!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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