baltimoresun.com

July 5, 2011

Virgin Mobile FreeFest line-up, date to be announced next week

The Virgin Mobile Freefest will announce its 2011 line-up and show date on July 11, a spokeswoman said Monday.

In June, the festival had already been confirmed as free and returning to Merriweather Post Pavilion.

It will be the festival's third year in a row at the venue, and its sixth overall. Before Merriweather, the festival was held at Pimlico Race Track.

Earlier this year, readers picked the bands they'd like to see perform. We'll see on Monday who made the cut.

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

June 8, 2011

Virgin Mobile FreeFest returning to Merriweather Post Pavilion

Virgin Mobile's annual music festival is returning to Merriweather Post Pavilion, says Click Track.

It will be the festival's third year in a row at the venue, and its sixth overall. Before Merriweather, the festival was held at Pimlico Race Track, where festival promoter I.M.P. still organizes the annual Preakness Infield. In other important Virgin Festival news: this year, there will be burritos on sale!

Promoter IMP hasn't confirmed the venue news or if 30,000+ tickets will again be given away as they have been for the past two years.

Merriweather has hosted a couple of festivals already this year, M3 Rock, and the second Sweetlife

A line-up for Virgin's festival will likely be announced within the next two months. Here are some of the bands readers would like to see perform. Here is a review of last year's festival.

Update: It is confirmed! I.M.P. spokeswoman Audrey Schaefer says the festival will return to Merriweather and will again be free this year. She does not know when the line-up will be released. 

See pictures, reviews and more Virgin Mobile FreeFest info at The Baltimore Sun's Virgin Mobile FreeFest page.

Posted by Erik Maza at 6:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

March 31, 2011

Most requested bands for Virgin Mobile FreeFest: Girl Talk, Mumford & Sons, Florence and the Machine

virgin.JPGFor this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFEST, it seems readers are in the mood for Girl Talk, and folky British rock. Those are the names that keep coming up on the post from a couple of weeks ago asking readers for band requests for this year's festival. Also with multiple mentions: Grizzly Bear, and locals Wye Oak and Rye Rye. (photo: via)

See pictures, reviews and more Virgin Mobile FreeFest info at The Baltimore Sun's Virgin Mobile FreeFest page.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:24 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

March 22, 2011

What bands would you like to see at Virgin FreeFest 2011?

freefest%20is%20back.JPG Virgin Mobile sent around a cryptic mass e-mail last week vaguely alluding to the return of its annual music festival here in Maryland.

It doesn't say when FreeFest will return or where it'll be held or if it'll stay free again this year. Underneath the bold banner "FreeFest is back" it just says, "Like us on Facebook for exclusive updates." How conveniently synergistic.

IMP, the concert promoter that handles the festival, didn't respond to questions about the e-mailed tease; SXSW is likely to blame.

The e-mail, though, suggests an announcement of some kind is imminent. Most likely, it'll be a confirmation that the festival will return to Merriweather Post Pavilion. That's what happened around this time last year.

While the line-up probably won't be announced until early summer, most likely around July, it's time to come up with your fantasy line-up.

Who would you like to see at Virgin Mobile FreeFest this year? Me? I would settle for a quiet, low-key pairing of Janelle Monae and Prince.

See pictures, reviews and more Virgin Mobile FreeFest info at The Baltimore Sun's Virgin Mobile FreeFest page.

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:00 AM | | Comments (53)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 27, 2010

FreeFest review: Sleigh Bells had more air guitarists per capita than everyone else

I had a theory going into the Sleigh Bells show Saturday at the dance tent. I’d just never heard them at their intended volume: a couple of notches louder than a battleship cannon.

When I saw 10 feet tall speakers, and eight comically large Marshall amps stacked high -- which prompted one concertgoer to ask a friend, “Do you think those are real?” -- I knew this would be the right place to test out my hypothesis.

Some have categorized the duo of Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss as “noise pop,” which is my second favorite sub-sub-sub-genre represented at V-fest (behind only Neon Indian’s classification as “chill wave”…How rad is that?). On paper, they read like a train-wreck.

Lo-fi distortion that, more often than not, drowns out the vocals. Lyrics that, when they can be deciphered, are repetitive, often childish, and sometimes irrelevant. Lots of “oooohhing” and “aaaahhing.” Single guitar licks repeated to buoy entire songs, which rarely last longer than 3 minutes.

And yet eight wrongs apparently do make a right.

Continue reading "FreeFest review: Sleigh Bells had more air guitarists per capita than everyone else" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:02 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Festival review: Virgin Mobile FreeFest

At Virgin Mobile FreeFest, the dust doesn't even have time to settle before it's time to move on.

Just as Texan band Neon Indian finished their set in the dance tent, Joan Jett was getting on stage at the main pavilion. At night, rapper M.I.A. went head-to-head with dance gods LCD Soundsystem.

With 21 artists playing at this one-day event, there was more shuttling here than in Middle East diplomacy.

At least 30,000 music fans came to Columbia Saturday to watch them play at three different stages built around the 40-acre grounds of Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Some came for Ludacris, others for indie behemoths Pavement. Most came because it was free.

Performers Saturday covered the spectrum of current music: indie, electronic, trombone-playing (Trombone Shorty). The day was kicked off by electronic duo Brite Lite Brite at noon and ended at 11 p.m., with LCD Soundsystem on the main stage and Sharam in the dance tent.

For the rest of Midnight Sun's print story, click here.

Photo: Josh Sisk, Special to The Baltimore Sun

Posted by Erik Maza at 8:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 25, 2010

Review: Neon Indian at Virgin Mobile FreeFest

By the end of Neon Indian's hour-long set, the dance forest felt more like a dust bowl. 

Following quieter acts like Will Eastman and Wolfgang Gartner, the combined oomph of Alan Polomo (the Neon Indian himself), guitarist and singer Ronald Gierhart, drummer Jason Faries, and keyboard player and killer vocalist Leanne Macomber overwhelmed, in a good way.

The fans right near the stage felt it too. It was easily the heaviest crowd in that tent since the day started.

Electronica enthusiasts unfamiliar with Neon Indian and expecting a lonely DJ standing behind a turn-table at the club-music heavy dance tent might have been disappointed by the foursome, but they didn't show it.  

They were both packed in front of the stage and sprawled further away under the shade of the trees in the Merriweather forest.

Continue reading "Review: Neon Indian at Virgin Mobile FreeFest" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 6:51 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Review: Yeasayer at Virgin Mobile FreeFest

The music matched the weather which matched the mood in the late afternoon on Saturday, as (mostly) Baltimore natives Yeasayer played an upbeat, vibrant set, while a warm breeze and ample shade cooled the cheerful, beer-sipping crowd.

The group had the audience on their feet and dancing from start to finish of their hour-long set, launching with “Wait For the Summer,” a particularly apt showcase for Anand Wilder’s soaring, clear-throated singing style.

By the band’s second song, the distinct smell of pot had wafted over to my perch, prompting the affable 26 year-old ex-Marine standing next to me to jokingly demand his fair share.

At times Yeasayer’s sound could be a little muddled, as on “Grizelda,” which with its wailing vocals and unfocused melody sounded like the aural equivalent of a Vaseline-smeared camera.

Continue reading "Review: Yeasayer at Virgin Mobile FreeFest" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 6:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Review: Will Eastman at Virgin Mobile FreeFest

bs-ae-virgin-main-photos-01-2000.jpgDJ Will Eastman is enjoying recess.
   
At least that’s what it feels like watching Eastman, a trained historian and museum specialist who worked in the National Smithsonian of American History in Washington D.C., spin out sounds between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the dance forest at Virgin Mobile Freefest. Wearing a black tee-shirt and sunglasses, he bounces up and down, grinning a goofy I-love-what-I-am-doing grin.

General impression: the co-owner of U Street Music Hall has served on the management end of the club music scene for years and is now exactly where he wants to be.

Eastman released his debut single “Feelin” in Dec. 2009. His frantic, energetic sound exists at the intersection of house and mainstream techno. The base beats gallop at a breathless pace, interspersed with automated voice effects and sounds that bring to mind epic Star Wars laser battles.

I was a little worried if Eastman was going to be alone in this sentiment when I arrived in the dance forest at 12:45 p.m. There were only a dozen people there. Literally - I counted them.

Continue reading "Review: Will Eastman at Virgin Mobile FreeFest" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:12 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Review: Brite Lite Brite at Virgin Mobile FreeFest

It can’t be easy being the opening band at the Virgin Mobile Freefest, even if you’ve gone through a rigorous selection process for the dubious honor.

This year’s opener, Brite Lite Brite, played in the main pavilion, which a festival staff member told me seats around 5,000 people. Even with a healthy cluster of people crowding the foot of the stage and small groups scattered in the seats, the venue was far too open and overwhelming for the electronica-pop band, whose sound, I suspect, would make far more sense in a small, sweaty dance club.

As it was, the Boston duo’s sound felt a bit diffused and unenergetic. Even the lead singer Andrea Stankevitch, a Kirsten Dunst look-a-like, looked bored throughout most of the set, while her partner Lukas Johnson went from mixing happy pop beats at first to darker, bass-driven dubstep in the second half of the show.

Continue reading "Review: Brite Lite Brite at Virgin Mobile FreeFest" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:00 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

M.I.A. on performing at Virgin Mobile FreeFest: "I don't want every human turned into a Google ad"

M.I.A. is headlining the West Stage at the Virgin Mobile FreeFest today. 

She's promoting her new album, "Maya," an even more confrontational work than her past two albums that she describes as being about the "dilemma" of distributing and consuming music today.

"I don't want every single human turned into a Google ad opportunity. But that's the problem, isn't it?" she says in this week's Live! "It's a difficult thing to do without the framework of a corporation."

Of course, that's precisely what Virgin FreeFest is: a free concert for fans, and a giant marketing opportunity for the cell phone company. 

Executives there say the festival will generate for them an average 100 million impressions, which refers to the number of people who encounter the brand through advertising.

It's not an irony lost her, especially now, after her anti-corporate credibility has started to unravel with her marriage to Seagram liquor fortune scion Ben Bronfman, and a transparent hit-piece in the New York Times magazine. Her panned performance at the Hard festival hasn't helped matters. 

Continue reading "M.I.A. on performing at Virgin Mobile FreeFest: "I don't want every human turned into a Google ad"" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

FreeFest: Merriweather Post Pavilion Map

virginmap.JPGAfter three years at Pimlico Race Course, the Virgin Mobile FreeFest switched venues to Columbia's Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2009.

It's there again this year. MPP is a big amphitheater that can hold nearly 20,000 people. And for the festival, two additional stages have been built - a West and a dance stage.

Below, find a high-resolution map of Merriweather. 

Brite Lite Brite will open the festival on the main stage at noon, followed by Temper Trap at West 30 minutes later, and DJ Will Eastman at 1 p.m. on the dance stage.

Continue reading "FreeFest: Merriweather Post Pavilion Map" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:50 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 24, 2010

BCCC student wins Virgin Mobile FreeFest ticket giveaway

Lots of readers retweeted, replied and commented to get Midnight Sun's free tickets to Virgin Mobile FreeFest Saturday.

But in the end, the winner is Keichel Lewter aka @quechele, a Baltimore native who wants to see rapper M.I.A.

Lewter's are schizophrenic tweets: she threatened to pelt Midnight Sun with ripe tomatoes if she didn't win the tickets, and then five minutes later said yours truly was good to look at. But that's part of her online charm. 

The 23-year-year old was born here, and now lives in Owings Mills. She works at the University of Maryland's medical school, and also attends Baltimore City Community College, where she's preparing to study engineering.

She wants to eventually transfer to Morgan State University. 

Lewter had heard about the original FreeFest giveaway, but only when it was too late. 

She says she's looking forward to seeing M.I.A. 

She will be tweeting from the festival Saturday, along with Midnight Sun, features intern Peter Krause, reporter June Torbati, and a handful of other tweeting correspondents. Our official FreeFest feed is here.

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:23 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 23, 2010

Virgin FreeFest: Rye Rye might perform with M.I.A.

 Baltimore rapper Rye Rye might perform with M.I.A. at Virgin Mobile FreeFest Saturday, the British hip hop star told Midnight Sun in an interview.

Rye Rye, who's been signed to M.I.A.'s vanity shingle at Interscope, N.E.E.T., will tour with the Brit this Fall.

M.I.A., who's incorporated Baltimore house and dance music in her work, says performing here is comfortable because the local rapper has made their kind of music accessible.

"It helps that Rye Rye's already done exciting work in Baltimore," she said. "We're kind of alike."

Asked if the Baltimore native would come watch her at the festival, M.I.A. said, "She'll be there. She might get up on stage with me."

But like all things involving M.I.A., nothing's set in stone. The two just finished a video together. 

Continue reading "Virgin FreeFest: Rye Rye might perform with M.I.A. " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 9:56 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 22, 2010

Virgin Mobile FreeFest Schedule; T.I. not committed yet

freefestschedule.JPGVirgin Mobile FreeFest has released its full line-up for Saturday, September 25.

The Atlanta rapper T.I. still hasn't committed, organizers say. He has been preparing for a parole hearing in Atlanta after a September drug bust. There's been wide speculation about his ability to honor touring commitments - he's already canceled three shows, one that would have come a day after the festival.

As Midnight Sun reported Monday, festival organizers have not replaced his act, but they have expanded time sets for other artists.

But if he is able to perform Saturday, the schedule will be altered, spokeswoman Audrey Fix Schaefer said.

In total there will be 21 artists who'll perform throughout the day.

The festival opens at noon with Brite Lite Brite on the main stage, and Temper Trap a half hour later on the West Stage. At 4:30 p.m. on the main stage Joan Jett will kick off a whopper of a line-up: she's followed by Matt & Kim, Pavement, and LCD Soundsystem.

Full schedule below, including printable version:

Continue reading "Virgin Mobile FreeFest Schedule; T.I. not committed yet" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 2:06 PM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 21, 2010

We're giving away two tickets to sold-out Virgin Mobile FreeFest

Midnight Sun and Co. are feeling benevolent. We've gotten two tickets to Virgin Mobile FreeFest, and we want to give them away.

How? Tweet your favorite things about Midnight Sun blog, using the hashtag #midnightfreefest, or write them in the comments below. You can also write a good reason why you should be considered for the tix.

Make us laugh, make us cry, be creative, or absurd. We'll pick the best answer submitted by noon Friday. 

You can enter as many times as you like, but you MUST be following @MidnightSunBlog to win. If you leave your answer in the comments, include your twitter handle.

In exchange for the two tickets, we'll make you a Midnight Sun tweeting correspondent for the day, and your tweets from the festival will be streamed on our Virgin FreeFest page

Continue reading "We're giving away two tickets to sold-out Virgin Mobile FreeFest " »

Posted by Erik Maza at 7:30 AM | | Comments (22)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 20, 2010

Virgin Mobile FreeFest: We have no Plan B yet if T.I. bails

T.I.'s drug bust put in question his touring plans for the Fall, including a Sept. 25 stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion for Virgin Mobile FreeFest. Already, three shows have been canceled as he sorts through his legal problems.

But festival organizers say he will not be replaced if he bails because there's no time to find a back-up.

The Atlanta rapper was arrested  Sept. 1 in Los Angeles for ecstasy possession, among other charges. He's due to appear soon before an Atlanta judge who'll decide if he violated his parole.

In light of his legal woes, he's canceled three shows already - Penn State, Jackson State University, and West Virginia University, which was scheduled a day after Virgin FreeFest.

Seth Hurwitz, chairman of promoter I.M.P., says he's waiting to hear "official word" from the label about the scheduled appearance. But as of now, T.I.'s still on the bill.

"I don't know that we can plan until Thursday," he said.

If the Atlanta judge revokes the rapper's parole, and he cancels the festival appearance, the show will go on anyway.

Continue reading "Virgin Mobile FreeFest: We have no Plan B yet if T.I. bails" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 3:04 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

September 15, 2010

More free tickets for Virgin Mobile FreeFest; yes, there's still a chance to see Ludacris, T.I., M.I.A. gratis

Picture%208.pngThose free tickets for Virgin Mobile FreeFest given away in July disappeared faster than the Jets' offense.

But nutty billionaire Richard Branson is still feeling magnanimous. Turns out the folks at FreeFest held on to several hundred tix to give away to people who donate hygiene kits to benefit homeless youth in Baltimore and Washington DC.

On September 18, at least some 320 of them will be up for grabs at several area universities. That's when organizers will hold eight different drives to collect the kits. The first 40 residents who bring five ziploc bags with five hygiene products - tampons, deodorant, etc - will receive a general admission ticket to the festival.

Organizers will be collecting bags at Towson, Johns Hopkins, Morgan State, Maryland, William & Mary, American, and Georgetown universities from noon to 3 p.m. But the drive is open to anyone over 16 who is a resident of the Baltimore-DC metropolitan area.

September 18 is the only date that lists volunteer openings now, but there might be more before the festival September 25, according to organizers. 

Continue reading "More free tickets for Virgin Mobile FreeFest; yes, there's still a chance to see Ludacris, T.I., M.I.A. gratis" »

Posted by Erik Maza at 7:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

July 24, 2010

How did Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets go?

So I just rolled out of bed and realized the Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets went on sale a half hour ago. Whoops.

How did the giveaway go? How many people sprung for the $125 pavilion seats, vs the free tickets for the lawn? All in all, they're giving away more than 30,000 tickets. Did you get one?

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:33 AM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

July 23, 2010

Virgin Mobile FreeFest presale: How did it go?

Advance tickets for the Virgin Mobile FreeFest were offered in a pre-sale at 10 a.m. today.

According to organizers, Virgin Mobile customers and fans who attended previous festivals were sent a promotional code, and could log onto Ticketfly.com to register for two tickets each.

How did it go? Were you able to get tickets? The rest of the tickets will be available at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:24 AM | | Comments (42)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

May 25, 2010

Virgin Mobile FreeFest date set

Mark your calendars: The Virgin Mobile FreeFest will return to Merriweather Post Pavilion Sept. 25. No word on lineup or tickets yet.
Posted by Sam Sessa at 2:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 31, 2009

Concert review: Virgin Mobile FreeFest

virgin mobile freefestI still can't believe it was free.

My goodness: 11 hours of music, 20+ acts, all kinds of wacky stuff on the side (like karaoke, a fortune teller, etc.). It's almost pointless to criticize this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest because, well, it was free. And free makes everything better.

First, some observations:

The crowd this year was much younger than any of the previous years. That's probably because there weren't any vintage mainstays such as Bob Dylan or The Who on the roster.

Merriweather was a much better home for the Virgin Fest than Pimlico. There's hardly any shade at Pimlico. Merriweather is nice and woodsy.

However, the lines to get into the pavilion were pretty long, and irritated some people (seats were first-come, first-serve, and the pavilion only holds so many people). To the folks who were angry about not getting into the pavilion: Chill. It's a free concert.

The video screens were about a second behind the sound. Was anybody else frustrated with that?

Oh, and before I forget -- here's a photo gallery from the festival, and here's a scene piece I did on it for today's paper.

And now, the music ...

Continue reading "Concert review: Virgin Mobile FreeFest" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:00 AM | | Comments (29)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 30, 2009

Smaller doesn't mean less energetic

Today's Virgin Mobile FreeFest might be smaller than previous years, but it's every bit as energetic.

Sure, Merriweather Post Pavilion is half the size of Pimlico Race Course, And the festival has been cut from a weekend-long spectacle to a one-day affair. Even the traditionally diverse lineup was focused to include mostly rock bands and DJs. But this year's festival was also free, and free goes a long way ...


Continue reading "Smaller doesn't mean less energetic" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 5:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

The Virgin Mobile FreeFest is under way

It's breezy and beautiful at Merriweather Post Pavilion -- perfect weather for the Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

I'm not going to be blogging as much in years past, but if you're at the festival (or want to keep up on the happenings), Sun scribe Julie Scharper will be tweeting all day. Just follow @juliemore ...

Continue reading "The Virgin Mobile FreeFest is under way" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:06 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 28, 2009

Virgin Mobile FreeFest schedule announced

blink-182Here's the schedule for the Virgin Mobile FreeFest, which comes to Merriweather Post Pavilion Sunday:

Pavilion Stage
Mates of State: 1:30-2:25 p.m.
Taking Back Sunday: 2:50-4 p.m.
Jet: 4:20-5:30 p.m.
The Bravery: 6-7:15 p.m.
Weezer: 7:45-8:45 p.m.
Blink-182 : 9:15-10:45 p.m.

West Stage
Sundays Roulette: 11:15-11:45 a.m.
The Birthday Massacre: noon-12:30 p.m.
St. Vincent: 12:45-1:35 p.m.
Wale: 2-3 p.m.
The Hold Steady: 3:35-4:45 p.m.
Public Enemy: 5:15-6:30
The National: 6:50-7:50 p.m.
Girl Talk: 8:10-9:20 p.m.
Franz Ferdinand: 9:50-11 p.m.

Dance Stage
Holy F*ck: 1-2:30 p.m.
Lee Burridge: 2:45-5:30 p.m.
Danny Howells: 5:30-8:15 p.m.
Pete Tong: 8:15-11 p.m. 

I'll be seeing Mates of State, St. Vincent, The Hold Steady, the second half of Jet's set, Public Enemy, Weezer and Blink.

What about you?

(Photo by Getty Images)

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:03 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 27, 2009

Some Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets are still available

Go here and you can get one with a $10 donation to Virgin's Regeneration charity. Thanks, 600 Block, for the tip!
Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:55 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 20, 2009

Which bands to see at this year's Virgin Free Fest

the hold steadyWith Virgin Mobile FreeFest just about a week away, it's time to start thinking about the bands you don't want to miss at the free one-day festival Aug. 30 at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Since it started in 2006, the festival has showcased a wide range of bands. Last year, Bob Dylan, the Foo Fighters, Kanye West and Jack Johnson were all headliners. Talk about diverse.

This year's headliners, Weezer and Blink-182, are both worth seeing. This is the first time Blink-182 has toured since the California pop punk trio split up almost five years ago. And Weezer has long been a staple on the alt-rock scene ...

Continue reading "Which bands to see at this year's Virgin Free Fest" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:15 PM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

June 30, 2009

The skinny on the remaining Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets

virgin mobile festivalIn case you're just tuning in, there are close to 3,000 tickets left to this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. (Backstory here).

To get one of 2,400 general admission tickets, you have to volunteer for an act of community service -- giving blood, cleaning up parks, etc. -- through this Web site.

The initiative, called the Summer of Service, is being spearheaded by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.

The sign-up for volunteering starts at noon Thursday. Volunteers must be 18 and older. In the coming weeks, the volunteering will be expanded to include other counties throughout the state.

But wait, there's more ...

Continue reading "The skinny on the remaining Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:20 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets are still available -- for a good deed

Still looking for a ticket to the Virgin Mobile FreeFest? It's going to cost you some community service.

This morning, festival organizers and Howard County officials are expected to unveil the Summer of Service, a program that trades volunteer work like giving blood and cleaning parks for a much-coveted ticket to this year's FreeFest. Nearly 2,500 tickets will be available as part of the initiative.

The festival, which features headliners Blink-182, Weezer and Public Enemy, is being held Aug. 30 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Here's a link to a piece in today's paper with more details about the Summer of Service.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:10 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

June 26, 2009

Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets are back on sale

For some reason, I was under the impression that all the pre-sale tickets for the Virgin Mobile FreeFest sold out. They have not. They are currently up for grabs. Good luck!
Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:18 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

June 25, 2009

Looks like Ticketmaster botched the Virgin Mobile FreeFest presale

ticketmasterTicketmaster's carelessness never ceases to amaze me. 

This morning, Virgin Mobile customers and previous Virgin Mobile Festival-goers were supposed to get first crack at presale tickets for the Aug. 30 Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

This morning, I've heard from more than a few festival-goers and Virgin Mobile customers who were never informed of how to get tickets.

The people who did hear from Virgin Mobile and Ticketmaster got a password they could use to earmark no more than two tickets each for the festival. Was each password different? Nope. Was each password only good for two tickets? Nope. It looks like they used one (maybe a handful) of passwords for everybody. 

When people realized this, they started sharing the password with their friends. And their friends' friends. I talked to a few people who hadn't been to previous festivals and weren't Virgin Mobile customers who got tickets ...

Continue reading "Looks like Ticketmaster botched the Virgin Mobile FreeFest presale" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 12:57 PM | | Comments (37)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Here's how Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets work

Yesterday, a few people asked about the ticket situation for Virgin Mobile FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Here's how it's going to work ...

Continue reading "Here's how Virgin Mobile FreeFest tickets work" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:56 AM | | Comments (49)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

June 24, 2009

Virgin Mobile FreeFest is a coup

virgin mobile festivalHere's a question: How do you scale back one of the region's biggest music festivals and keep it from being a disappointment?

The answer? You make it free.

That's what Virgin Mobile did with this year's Virgin Festival, renamed the Virgin Mobile FreeFest.

The headliners, Blink-182, Weezer, Franz Ferdinand and Public Enemy don't have the star power of previous acts such as the Who, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West and the Police. It's only one day: Aug. 30. And the venue, Merriweather Post Pavilion, holds about half as many people as the infield at Pimlico Race Course.

But all 35,000 tickets for this year's festival will be given away for free. (You can find my piece about the fest, with more details and ticketing info, here) ...

Continue reading "Virgin Mobile FreeFest is a coup" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 6:54 AM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

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 ...

Continue reading "What if this year's Virgin Mobile Festival were free?" »

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

June 2, 2009

Organizers: Yes, there will still be a Virgin Mobile Festival

Despite the fact that it's June and we've heard no announcements about this year's Virgin Mobile Festival, organizers are assuring me that it's still on.

Here's proof, they say.

I'm still a little skeptical.

I wonder how good it could be, considering how late in the season it is to announce a summer festival. We shall see.

Yesterday, at a press conference about Merriweather Post Pavilion's recent renovations, promoter Seth Hurwitz declined to comment about the festival's potential move to Merriweather ...

Continue reading "Organizers: Yes, there will still be a Virgin Mobile Festival" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 6:35 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Virgin Mobile Festival
        

May 28, 2009

Still no news about the Virgin Mobile Festival

virginmobilefestivalcrowdshot.JPGRumors have been flying for months about where the Virgin Mobile Festival will take place -- if it happens at all.

Organizers said they'd have announcements by April.

No news came.

Then they said they'd release the dates by mid-May.

Here we are almost into June and nothing has been announced yet.

I've gotten numerous e-mails from curious readers, and I keep having to tell them I've got no news for them.

If the festival moves to Merriweather, and it's looking more and more like it will, I predict a much more scaled-back version ...

Continue reading "Still no news about the Virgin Mobile Festival" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 3:06 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, Virgin Mobile Festival
        

April 6, 2009

Virgin Mobile Festival could move to Merriweather Post Pavilion

merriweather post pavilionVirgin 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 ...

Continue reading "Virgin Mobile Festival could move to Merriweather Post Pavilion" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:45 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

April 3, 2009

Yes, the Virgin Mobile Festival will be back. But where?

virgin mobile festival baltimoreThis just in: The Virgin Mobile Festival will return for a fourth year.

Now the big question is, where?

"Nothing in life is definite," said Jayne Wallace, director of corporate communications for Virgin Mobile.

"But for all intents and purposes, we fully expect to hold another festival. We have some exciting ideas we're looking at." 

Here is a short piece I just wrote, with more details about the festival. 

Actually, the piece is more about what we don't know than what we do. We don't know who's on the roster or when or where it will be.

I wonder if they're taking suggestions? I mean, who would you want to see, and where would you want the festival to be?

If I had my way ...

Continue reading "Yes, the Virgin Mobile Festival will be back. But where?" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:15 PM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Will the Virgin Mobile Festival return this year?

virgin mobile festivalIt's a good question. And as of right now, I don't know the answer.

In fact, the future of Pimlico and the Preakness is up in the air.

Yesterday, I e-mailed Virgin Mobile Festival publicist Audrey Fix Schaefer, who said there is "no news to report."

That doesn't bode well for the festival ...

Continue reading "Will the Virgin Mobile Festival return this year? " »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:30 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 16, 2008

Post Rock vs. Virgin Fest's Book the Band

Washington Post music writer David Malitz was hilariously on point when he slammed Virgin Mobile Festival organizers for the Book the Band idea.

If you remember, West Coast rock group Hollywood Undead won the online contest, and played their first show ever last weekend at Pimlico Race Course. ...

Continue reading "Post Rock vs. Virgin Fest's Book the Band" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:47 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 15, 2008

Attendance down at this year's Virgin Mobile Festival

virgin festivalSlightly more than 60,000 people attended the 2008 Virgin Mobile Festival, organizers announced today.

That's down from roughly 70,000 last year. But the Virgin Fest folks are happy, publicist Audrey Schaefer wrote in an e-mail.

"This number met our expectations and we're thrilled with the amazing response we've gotten to the festival, the memorable performances, and the entire experience," she wrote.

"To see tens of thousands of people enjoy the show made it a blast for all of us."

Held at Pimlico Race Course, this year's two-day festival featured an eclectic lineup of more than 40 performers, including Bob Dylan, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails and the Foo Fighters.

(Sun photo by Patrick Smith) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 4:18 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

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) 

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

April 28, 2008

The Virgin Mobile Festival lineup

This year, it's less top-heavy, with A-list acts spread out over both days.

Here's 95 percent of the lineup ...

Continue reading "The Virgin Mobile Festival lineup" »

Posted by Sam Sessa at 6:07 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

April 2, 2008

Will Virgin Mobile Festival draw?

Now that we know the headliners to this year's Virgin Mobile Festival, the next debate is: Will more people go this year than in previous years?

I think Kanye West is the hottest act on the bill, and will probably bring out more people than any of the other headliners.

Jack Johnson is also a big draw among the high school and college crowd.

Both Nine Inch Nails and the Foo Fighters were huge in the '90s. But neither band has had many hits in the past few years. So it's hard for me to guess how many people would come see them.

How much interest is there in a reunited Stone Temple Pilots tour? And do you think the band will actually stay together long enough to make it to the festival?

(Photo by Getty Images) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:04 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

April 1, 2008

Virgin Mobile Festival lineup announced

Rapper Kanye West, singer/songwriter Jack Johnson industrial rock outfit Nine Inch Nails and alternative rockers the Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots will headline this year's Virgin Mobile Festival, organizers announced today.

The two-day festival, now in its third year, comes to Pimlico Race Course August 9-10. 

About 74,000 people turned out for last year's festival, which featured the Police, Smashing Pumpkins, the Beastie Boys and nearly 40 other acts at Pimlico Race Course. 

More to come.

(Photo by Kenneth K. Lam/Sun Photographer) 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:12 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

February 22, 2008

Virgin Mobile Festival dates announced

Pimlico will once again host the Virgin Mobile Festival, organizers announced today.

This year's festival will take place Aug. 9 and 10.

The lineup will be announced in the coming weeks. 

 (Want to relive last year's event? Check out stories, photos, blog posts and more.) 

 

Posted by Sam Sessa at 1:28 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 7, 2007

Spoon's special guest at Virgin Fest

So Dan Deacon wasn't the only Baltimore performer at Virgin Festival after all.

Oranges Band front man Roman Kuebler sat in with Spoon for a couple songs during their set Sunday. He sang backup for "Lines in the Suit" and "Fitted Shirt."

Kuebler was Spoon's touring bassist and backup singer for more than two years after their album Girls Can Tell came out in 2001. He played a little on their 2002 album Kill the Moonlight too, and left when their old bass player re-joined the band.

"It's a cool band to play with," he said. "Musically, they're very down to business. ... But within the context of that there's a lot of room on stage to have fun."

Kuebler said he had a blast touring with Spoon and still keeps in touch with the band.

"It's funny because it takes the music out of the equation," he said. "It's like, you're friends with the people at work, but you never talk about the work that you do. You just do the work, but within the context of that work you have a really good relationship."

Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:44 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local music, Virgin Mobile Festival
        

Virgin Festival hangovers?

What did you guys think of Virgin Festival?

Who was your favorite act? What do you think could have been done better?

In today's story, promoter Seth Hurwitz said the festival was a success, and he hopes to bring it back for another year. I couldn't get a hold of rebel billionaire Richard Branson yesterday, but he reportedly said "See you next year" before leaving Sunday. So it looks like we might get Virgin Fest 2008.

As far as festivals go, I think the Virgin Fest was excellently run. Most bands went on within minutes of their scheduled start time, the sound quality was as good as you're gonna get for a festival, and the shade tents and free water refilling station were nice touches. If possible, I'd like to see more shade tents and another water tanker there next year.

Overall, Hurwitz, Branson and the rest of the festival staff deserve a big round of applause. Great job, guys. Let's do it again.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 8:54 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        

August 1, 2007

Virgin Festival poll

With the massive two-day Virgin Fest coming to town this weekend, I'd like to take an informal poll.

Who are you looking forward to seeing the most? Are you going both days, or just one? Anybody you haven't seen you're really looking forward to seeing?

I'll be blogging from there all day Saturday. I'm wondering if Amy Winehouse is going to cancel the date last minute, or if she'll actually show up. I'd like to see her, the Police, Paolo Nutini, Modest Mouse, the Beastie Boys and Ben Harper.

Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:26 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Virgin Mobile Festival
        
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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 erik.maza@baltsun.com. 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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