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News Maryland Harford County Aberdeen Havre De Grace

Next Lunar Bay Festival will not be at Harford's Steppingstone Museum

Organizers of the Lunar Bay Music and Arts Festival expect to soon secure a new and larger venue for next year's jam-band festival, after parting ways with operators of the Steppingstone Farm Museum, the venue for the inaugural 2013 festival.

The inaugural two-day Lunar Bay event, with a 48-band lineup, took place in late June on the grounds of the 23-acre Steppingstone Farm Museum outside Havre de Grace. The ban moe. was the festival headliner.

Museum officials announced Wednesday that Steppingstone would not serve as the venue for future festivals.

"The inaugural event was successful and has great potential for growth but the museum has decided that an event of the size and scope of Lunar Bay needs a larger space and would be better suited to another site," officials stated in the press release.

Lunar Bay was organized by Genevieve Britton, Margie Coakley and Kelley Duncan of Havre de Grace, who called themselves the "Ladies of Locust," after the street they live on.

Duncan said Wednesday that she is now the "sole director to the management team" for Lunar Bay 2014, and the "single owner" of Lunar Bay Music and Arts Festival LLC, the entity formed to put on next year's festival.

Britton and Coakley said they have withdrawn from Ladies of Locust.

"We were disappointed in their decision to not grow with Lunar Bay," Duncan said of Steppingstone officials. "We look to go in our separate ways constructively."

The Ladies of Locust members had planned to bring in 10,000 people for the inaugural festival, for the bands, as well as food, drink and artistic vendors. Duncan said about 3,000 to 4,000 people attended.

She said organizers are working to "find the best fit" for a venue, which would include more parking, camping, several entrances to the facility and sites for family activities, in response to festival-goers' requests.

Five organizations shared a portion of the proceeds from the inaugural event, including The Arc, Believe in Music of Baltimore, Murals of Grace, Pets on Wheels and Steppingstone.

The farm museum grounds are designed to give visitors the experience of living and working on a Harford County farm during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and play host to multiple community events during the year.

Angela Yau, executive director of Steppingstone, said Wednesday that board members voted during their monthly meeting on Sept. 17 not to execute a contract for the next festival.

The Ladies of Locust LLC had rented the site for June's festival.

"The board of directors decided it was not a good fit for the mission of the museum," she said.

Yau said the Lunar Bay crowd was the largest that had been on the grounds for a private event.

Britton said she did not have any comment on the venue matter, and would not be part of organizing future Lunar Bay festivals.

She said she wanted to focus on her Havre de Grace painting business, Painted Ladies.

"It was a great endeavor," she said of Lunar Bay. "I just have to focus my energies."

Coakley also said she had resigned from Ladies of Locust after the festival. She declined to comment further.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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