Dr. Dog perform at the Hot August Music Festival on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Cassandra Mullinix. For more of her photos, visit https://www.facebook.com/bucketofrock.
We were so grateful to be part of this year’s Hot August Music Festival. It was certainly one for the record books, this being the 22nd consecutive installment of the event. Here are five fantastic things we discovered at this year’s festival:
1. There’s not a bad seat in the house. Go ahead and sit, stand, or dance wherever fate lands you. There’s plenty of front row real estate along the main stage barrier to scoop up on, but if you want to spread out a little, the jumbo-tron and gently upward-sloping field at Oregon Ridge Park are extremely conducive to some great views. I made my way up to the “cheap seats” at the end of the night and thoroughly enjoyed the laid back atmosphere. Even better: The upper field is closer to the beer stands! And if you want to throw some real excitement into the mix, you might try reverting back to your seven-year-old self and roll down the slope as a few folks did during Nickel Creek! Festival-goers were pretty chill over at the two side stages and it was entirely possible to maneuver into your own personal sweet spot.
2. Even when it’s not hot, it’s hawt. It wasn’t quite as hot as in years past, which made this year an exceptionally awesome Hot August Music Festival on top of all the hawt, hawt, hawt headliners the event boasted. There were so many highlights every hour between stages, it’s hard to single out a few. Certainly, the main headliner, Old Crow Medicine Show, did not disappoint and played a rowdy Baltimore-themed set where even Mr. Boh got down to Ketch Secor’s fiddle. Nickel Creek provided the oohs and ahhs from a musicianship perspective. Dr. Dog took no prisoners and rocked the midafternoon crowd, as if to say “welcome to the party” to all the late comers who had just finished trickling in. And highlights from the side stage included Cabinet and Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds, who both had an absolutely wild party raging over at the tree-lined end of the festival grounds.
3. Every band gets more than 15 minutes of fame on stage. Hot August Music Fest is without doubt one of those festivals that’s really about the music and the bands. Main stage performers were given two-hour set times and side stage performers enjoyed one-and-a-half hour sets. Houndmouth wasn’t quite sure what to do with their two hours because they have only one album to date. Still, they managed to keep the main stage rocking by relying on a few tricks up their sleeve, including taking cover-song requests from the audience. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lengthy set times came in handy for Turkuaz whose gear was held up in traffic and did not arrive until 10 minutes after their set time was supposed to begin.
4. Brad Selko can sing and play the harmonica. Founder. President. Director of Hot August Music Festival. Whatever you want to call Brad Selko, at least call him awesome for jumping on stage with Old Crow Medicine Show during a grand finale song.
5. A one-day festival can actually feel like a legitimate festival. Festivals are known for having that sense of reprieve, that vacation-like feeling of getting away from it all. That’s a feeling that’s hard to accomplish in one day and in a location just north of Baltimore City, but the Hot August Music Festival pulled it off pretty well. The event does a really good job of creating a self-contained, own-little-bubble-world of fun where even the kids are entertained (between hat making with Tattered Hatters and harmonica lessons with musicians, your kids can enjoy the festival as much as you might). There’s plenty of room to explore, and many food and beverage choices are at your fingertips. There are no worries once you’re in the gate.