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June 17, 2009

What if this year's Virgin Mobile Festival were free?

Hayley Williams of Paramore performs at least year's Virgin Mobile FestivalWhat would you say if the 2009 Virgin Mobile Festival was at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Aug. 30 with Blink-182, Weezer and Taking Back Sunday?

Personally, I'd be pretty meh about it.

But what if the 2009 Virgin Mobile Festival was free?

That would be wild. And, according to David Malitz over at Post Rock, it's a possibility. Malitz is hearing rumblings (off the record ones, mind you) from people who know people who are putting the festival together.

Talk show host Elliot (of Elliot in the Morning) thinks the festival might be free, too.

If you're wondering where I'm getting that lineup from, I've heard it off the record for a while now that those groups might be the headliners. Of course, it's been a bad week for tips on Midnight Sun. So take that as you will.

But for the record, just yesterday a member of Taking Back Sunday told Sun reporter Chris Kaltenbach that the pop rock band would be back for Virgin Fest this year ...

(For a few weeks this summer, Taking Back Sunday is 1/3 of the Weezer/Blink-182 package tour.)

As for the free part, I have no idea how that would possibly go down. Even if Merriweather sets up stages in Symphony Woods and a parking lot (like it did for HFStival in 2006), it could still only hold about 27,000 people. And I'm sure there are more than 27,000 people who would see Weezer, a reunited Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday for free.

So, if admission were free, there would have to be some kind of ticket lottery system. Either way, the bottom line is, this is all still speculation. And when I told my buddy Evan all this, he laughed and said, "Why don't they just book good bands and charge for it?"

I see what Evan's saying. But I think Weezer/Blink/Sunday would be wild if it was free. 

But who would pay for it? Would promoter Seth Hurwitz absorb the booking fees? Would food and beer prices double for the day? Or would corporate sponsorship be enough to pay the bills?


(Sun photo by Algerina Perna)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:52 PM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival


i would not pay for that lineup...maybe in 1999 I would...but not in 2009...

pretty craptastic if you ask me


those are healiners

the ones they are rumored...those are support

These off the record comments, which don't really stay off the record, seem to be where things like the Eddie Vedder debacle started and Beastie Boys fans got pissed off about not getting in to see their "surprise" show.

I heard a rumor Eddie Vedder was doing a duet with Chris Singh.

To be honest I still wouldn't go. I have no desire to see any of those bands even if they were free. I would have to see what, if any, other acts would be there to justify the drive to and from Merriweather.

If those were the only three acts, I'd prefer they just save the time, effort, and money and stage a bigger comeback next year when people have money to spend on a festival.

I heard Eddie Money might show up at Eddie Vedders show and Eddie Van Halen will be in the crowd!

C'mon now, Taking back Sunday? If that is the #3 band thats pathetic!


Who is Chris Singh?

Love the photo of the girl with the rooster on her head.

GDA makes a fantastic point... again.

Come on Sam, just because The Sun is sinking faster than California, its blogs have to become tabloids.

There's got to be a happy medium between the IMO outrageously expensive V fest tix but great headliners, and free but not-such-exciting acts. Something along the lines of the 1994 HFStival. I didn't love all the bands that played there, but that was probably the best seven bucks I've ever paid for a festival.

LOLHAHA, Evan! He has superior musical taste! He can not be bothered by popular artists! He likely laments how mainstream TMD is!

/the 'anything-popular-is-uncool' mentality of this blog drives me nuts

Mr. Awesome....I'm with you all the way on this. I get seriously bothered by the "too cool for school" attitude by some people. These seem to be the people that only like a band before they get popular or only like indie bands that play in tiny venues. Or the people that pride themselves on knowing the most obscure artists that no one else has heard of. I'll admit to being a fan of Blink 182 and Weezer since the mid 90's. If they played a free show I would definitely go if I didn't have other plans. I'd probably pay to see them if it was a show that featured them. I've seen Blink 182 a few times but I've never seen Weezer live. Granted, I'd probably be the oldest person there but I know I would probably enjoy myself at the show.

Cardwell, good point.

I've wanted to do a post about 'guilty pleasures' for a long time now, and how, in a perfect world, there wouldn't be guilty pleasures. I mean, music is art, and there is no right or wrong art. I think music snobs invented the phrase 'guilty pleasures' to make themselves feel like it's OK to listen to Britney Spears or some other pop music artist. There's nothing wrong with liking popular music. Heck, I like Britney Spears, Beyonce and the Bee Gees, among others.

Cardwell, Mr. Awesome--

A-freakin-men!! I love this site for the bar info...places I can go with my girlfriends, specials, etc. But the pretentious music snobbery is a bit much to take. You'd think from looking at this blog that only one radio station exists in this town... Let's stick to the bar reviews...and maybe acknowledge once in a while that popular music is know...popular.

I hear there is a rumor about Sam Sessa liking Beyonce & Britney Spears....Just a rumor but I have a good source that can confirm such.

Heck, I like Britney Spears

Bad Sessa..... No... No... Bad Sessa. You do that outside.

I got emails and comments when my concert review of Britney's Verizon Center performance ran. Brit fans couldn't believe a music critic for a newspaper actually liked her show. Of course, most Midnight Sunners scoffed, but I expected that.

Dig it:

Did you really just use the 'I'm not racist I have a black friend' argument trying to show you're not condescending about music? Count me in the sick of music snobs group. 'meh' indeed.

This "potential" lineup doesn't surprise me in the least bit.

Just check out the lineup at virgin festival in Canada?

New Kids on the Block? As a major headliner? Come on..

I don't be making the trip to up for Virgin, especially if it's at Merriweather.

Bring back HFStival!!

Sigh, I should know better than to try and defend myself.

Bad Sessa..... No... No... Bad Sessa. You do that outside.

That was me. I didn't want to just throw out random scoffs without at least (pseudonym) signing.

I don't know why no name showed up.

I can't believe all the whining and bellyaching going on. I just read all the EV stuff and keep thinking "no duh he didn't show up." Do I think Sessa passed on a lie in order to help someone sell tickets? NO. When I read the post that he might sit in, I figured it was 99% that he wouldn't show up. If you've ever been backstage after a big show, you know it's chaos even if there are the best intentions to make plans afterwards. If EV did show up, you'd all want Sessa's head for not letting everyone in on it. He was trying to do you a favor.

I'm not sure how much of a "surprise" the Beasties show was supposed to be since I got a mass email from Ram's Head for it as I'm sure anyone who's ordered tickets online from them before did too. It was also on their website for anyone to see.

One last rant: If you don't want to read the music postings...that's why there are these things called titles that tell you what the entry is about. Fascinating invention those things are.

Anyway, I'd totally go to that show at Merriweather.

Sweet band Holy [Bleep] is confirmed on August 30th at Virgin FreeFest in Columbia, MD.

See for yourself here...[bomb]

So a Virgin festival that is apparently free is at least being held in Columbia on Sunday 8/30. No word if it is indeed free, if it'll be a two-day fest, or any other bands, though the Blink/Weezer rumors hold tough

By the way, has been updated with a Coming Soon announcement

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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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