On Saturday, June 18, head over to Railroad Square in Brunswick at 11am for the Brunswick Music Fest, a celebration of music that grew up at a crossroads of the railroad and Appalachian Mountains. The concert will feature two Bluegrass bands, two Blues bands and an "old time" or Appalachian folk music band.
Unfortunately I won't be able to attend because of a previous engagement, but Hanna Politis, a committee chair for Brunswick Main Street, who hosts the event, was kind enough to tell me what it's all about. She said that calling it a "festival" might be a slight misnomer because the primary focus of the event will be the music of the five bands, but they will also have food and drink vendors.
“The music was created by the railroad because Brunswick is a railroad town," she said. "That kind of music is the Blues and the Bluegrass and the old time music that came to existence when they built the railroad into the Appalachian mountains because there were a lot of Irish, Scottish and African American elements. They were singing about the hardships of life or the heartbreaks at that time”
She said that one of the goals of the concert will be to reconnect Maryland with cultural elements that it shares with Virginia and West Virginia, but doesn't often express. One of the groups preforming at the concert, the Woodshedders, are from West Virginia and very popular there, but less well-known in Frederick County even though they play here on a fairly regular basis.
"It seems like the Potomac is like a border," she said. "That music and that culture stays there and we want to bring it into Maryland because we are part of that culture, really."
Hanna also said that the concert is part of a larger project by Brunswick Main Street to revitalize the downtown area. I have always thought it was a cute little town with a lot of great potential because of its history and location along the C&O Canal, but many of its storefronts have become empty and it doesn't draw a lot of attention from visitors.
"People don’t go downtown anymore because there are shopping centers all around and people live in the suburbs," she said. “We want to revitalize downtown and we also want to give Brunswick a good name for a quality event that will be visited regionally.”
Hanna hopes that while people are in town for this great concert, they will take the time to visit other aspects of the town that they may not have known were there, such as the charming boutiques, cafes and restaurants. She also believes that people would enjoy exploring the portion of the C&O Canal that runs just on the other side of the railroad tracks. I enjoy walking through that area because it's a nice long, clear path for exercise and it's nice to be so close to the river.
"It's incredible how close it is. You just walk across the tracks and there it is," she said.
If you are interested in attending this awesome day of concerts, Hanna says that it's better to buy your tickets in advance from their web site or registered sellers at downtown stores because they are cheaper than purchasing them at the gate.
Brunswick Music Fest
Saturday, June 18, 2011, Gates Open at 11am
Railroad Square at South Maple Avenue, downtown Brunswick, Maryland 21716
Tickets are $15 for adults in advance, $20 for adults at the gate, $10 for students and seniors and FREE for children ages 5 and under.
Advance tickets may be purchased by calling 240-347-8760, via the website www.BrunswickMusicFest.com, or in participating downtown stores.
The Woodshedders: www.thewoodshedders.com
The Kelly Bell band: www.phatblues.com
Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys: www.donnaulisse.com
Beaucoup Blue: www.beaucoupblue.com
The Fitzmaurice Band: www.fitzmauriceband.com