Virgin Mobile Festival could move to Merriweather Post Pavilion
Virgin Mobile Festival organizers are considering moving the annual festival to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia (pictured).
Festival promoter Seth Hurwitz is eying the pavilion, which he currently books, as a new home for the festival, according to Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
"We'd be thrilled to host it in Howard County," Ulman said.
"Seth has done a wonderful job resurrecting Merriweather over the last few years. We're really pleased with the work he's done there."
A move to Merriweather could mean big changes for the festival ...
First off, Merriweather is a much smaller venue than Pimlico Race Course, where the festival is currently held. Pimlico's infield holds about 60,000, give or take. Big stages and vendor tents like the ones you'll find at Virgin Fest reduce that capacity. But Pimlico can still pack in a lot of people.
Merriweather holds close to 20,000 people. But in May 2006, when it hosted the HFStival, it added stages in Symphony Woods and a pavilion parking lot. That upped the capacity to 27,500, The Sun reported at the time.
With this setup, Merriweather could potentially hold almost 60,000 in two days. That's not far off from the kind of numbers Virgin Fest has pulled in recent years. So it's certainly feasible.
But if the festival were to move to Merriweather, it would most likely have fewer massive A-list headliners (Kanye West and Jack Johnson, etc.) and more semi-A-list acts (Bob Dylan, Wilco, etc.).
Also, the Baltimore Business Journal did a thorough piece about the possibility of a Merriweather move a couple days ago. BBJ writer Ryan Sharrow even spoke with the Maryland Jockey Club and area hotels to see what kind of impact the festival has on the local economy. Check it out.
(Sun photo by Elizabeth Malby)