If you were to glance at the line-up for the upcoming Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore without knowing the concert's location, you'd swear it was a European festival based upon the amount of heavy-hitter bands and the relative wide scope of acts.
We were there last year, and of the zillion or so concerts and festivals I've ever been to, that one was the most fun.
The festival is set up with two full sized stages far enough away from each other that sound clash is not an issue, and a gigantic dance tent equipped with surround sound and enough light-show power to flip any club kid's wig. There are also art installations, a sideshow tent featuring fire-eaters, burlesque dancers, & DJ's, and plenty of chill areas, shade tents, and misting areas.
There is also a pretty fantastic area called "The Village", which features an impressive array of booths staffed by causes and charities, enough so that it would be nearly impossible to walk through without having learned at least one easy thing to do to help somebody else, the planet, or yourself.
Honestly, aside from Coachella, when was the last time such a cool & diverse lineup played a festival here?:
TV on the Radio
Fountains of Wayne
Peter Bjorn and John
Sasha and John Digweed
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
Sander Van Doorn
Shout Out Out Out Out
Felix Da Housecat
The Smashing Pumpkins
Panic! at the Disco
The Crystal Method
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Dieselboy and Andy C
Deep Dish (Dubfire + Sharam)
Explosions in the Sky
Panic! at the Disco
I've actually seen a great portion of those bands, but the band I want to see most? Cheap Trick. That's right, I said it. Those dudes are old enough to be grandfathers (and they very well may be), but they rock on par with any band I've ever seen. Rick Nielson is still a guitar god, and Robin Zander's pipes have amazingly survived decades of constant touring. I'm psyched.
It's a three-hour drive from NYC, but an easy one, not to mention the availablity of several rest areas with both Popeye's and Cinnabon along the way on I-95, which suit my delicate dietary regimen.
Tickets are available here. Look for me...I'll be the guy with the sunburned nose singing "Surrender" loudly.
Girl Talk - "Bounce That" mp3
Dan Deacon - "The Crystal Cat" mp3