'Source of inspiration'

"I'm really looking forward to going around and listening to some of these other artists," she said. "We're usually all doing gigs at night so we don't often get the chance to hear one another. I want to hop around and network with people. It will be a really cool source of inspiration."

It's a sentiment echoed by Jason Anderson, guitarist and singer for the Soul Island Rebels.

"I was blown away when I first heard about the festival," he said. "There's going to be such an eclectic mix of all kinds of music. People are going to be able to sample a little bit of everything."

Indeed, the bands featured at the Main Street Music Fest run the gamut from Baltimore-based rockers Sons of the Radio to the Golden Guns, a Howard County jazz-influenced jam band.

The Soul Island Rebels integrate a wide variety of genres in their own music, from rock to reggae, blues to funk. The outfit is composed of some of the more accomplished musicians in the region, thanks in part to Anderson's gig as the host of a popular open mic night at the Judges Bench in downtown Ellicott City.

The Mount Hebron High School graduate assembled his all star crew in the fall of 2010, and the band is currently recording an EP slated for release in November. Fans can hear some of the group's new songs when they perform at the festival.

"I've been telling everyone I know that they have to come," Anderson said. "There's never been anything like this before."

And, if organizers have their way, the Main Street Music Fest will become an annual event.

"There are so many talented musicians in our area," Ruth said. "I think we can really turn this into something even bigger. This event is going to turn a lot of heads and get a lot of people talking."

The Main Street Music Fest in historic Ellicott City will be held Sept. 29 from noon to 9 p.m. (The Ellicott City Fall Festival runs fron noon to 7 p.m.) The event is free. A shuttle bus will be available to transport festival goers from the parking lot at the Howard County Courthouse. More information available at visitellicottcity.com/FallFest12.html.