After catering lots of festivals in her hometown of Havre de Grace, Margie Coakley definitely saw how they could be made better. So she decided to put on her own festival.
With the help of two neighbors, Genevieve Britton and Kelley Duncan, Coakley is plunging headfirst into her first festival: the two-day, 48-band Lunar Bay Music & Arts Festival, to be held June 29 and 30 on the grounds of Steppingstone Museum.
Britton, Coakley and Duncan, who named themselves "Ladies of Locust" after the street where they live – also known as "LOL" or laughing out loud – expect the event to bring out 10,000 people over the two-day event.
The ticket sales will be capped at 6,000 on Saturday (29th) and 4,000 on Sunday (30th) to keep the event manageable, Duncan explained to members of the Harford County Liquor Control Board, which on Wednesday enthusiastically granted the festival organizers a license to sell alcohol at the two-day event.
"Nice job! Good luck!" liquor board Chairwoman Sandi Tunney told Duncan, complimenting her on the presentation she gave to the board.
With her background of catering Harford events like the Run For Your Life zombie run and the Havre de Grace Seafood Festival, Coakley said Tuesday she feels ready to try her own event.
"I do all these festivals and I just really thought, wow, if I would do a festival, we would do this and do it so much better," she said.
As part-owner of Coakley's Pub, she is especially interested in providing alternatives to typical festival fare.
"It's always fries and unhealthy food. We really wanted to offer healthy options," she said.
Indeed, Duncan said Wednesday they expect to offer "farm fresh food" at the festival, whose attendance they hope will benefit many local businesses.
Britton is in charge of art vendors and Duncan, who has a music background, has been handling the music component.
The headliner for the festival is moe., a jam band from Buffalo that became popular in the 1990s, that will perform Saturday.
Other performers include bluegrass and folk acts like Keller Williams and the Country Devils.
The entire event will run from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 29 and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on June 30.
After nailing down the scenic site of Susquehanna State Park – "it's beautiful, it's 500 acres, it's on the water" – Coakley said the ladies settled on the name of Lunar Bay.
"I think a full moon is cool and it has everything to do with the tides and the waters," she explained.
Steppingstone's wooded location and buildings will also play host to the four stages of the festival, which will go on rain or shine. A shed, for example, will be called the Electric Barn and also hold performers.
Every aspect of the weekend has the ladies' distinctive stamp on it, from the locust logo to the festival's mission: "encourage respectfully unique experiences through an organic food, art and music festival."
Coakley said they hope to keep the event as eco-friendly as possible, recycling throughout and encouraging attendees to carpool.
With two large fields available, however, she does not expect parking to be a problem. Parking will cost $15 onsite each day.
Tickets, which are still available, cost $55 for Sunday only, $65 for Saturday only or $75 for both days. A VIP two-day ticket will be $95, and children can come for $45 for two days or $25 per day. All tickets can be bought online via Ticketfly.
Besides the variety of musicians, the event also promises "fun for the whole family," Coakley said, listing wagon rides, fire-throwers, hula-hoopers and all the standard Steppingstone Museum offerings, like a blacksmith and woodcarver.
"We think Harford County could use something like this and we are also really giving back to the community," she said.
Coakley, Britton and Duncan are partnering with non-profits Susquehanna Farm Museum, Murals of Grace, Believe in Music, Pets on Wheels and the ARC.
In the presentation to the liquor board Wednesday, Duncan laid out the considerable preparations that have gone into planning for parking, crowd control, alcohol control and working with the Sheriff's Office, county permits officials and the State Fire Marshal's Office.
"Great event," one board member exclaimed, as Coakley, Britton and Duncan prepared to leave.
More information can be found online at http://www.lunarbayfestival.com.