Now in its fourth year at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds in Crownsville, Nextival is starting to get in the groove.
The show goes on beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday with 18 bands, food trucks, adult libations and vendor village. Plus there’s camping for tents and RVs, helicopter rides, and for the first time you can bring the family dog.
And it’s all for a good cause, or two.
“Like last year we will be making a donation to the Capital-Gazette Families Fund. And we will also be giving to Ronald McDonald Charity House in Baltimore,” promoter Billy Zero said.
“I booked less bands of bands this year but it’s all good,” Zero said.
The headliner this year is Runaway Gin, a quartet jam band out of Charleston, S.C., billed as the world’s busiest Phish tribute band. They will step on stage at 9 p.m. for two sets.
The rest of the featured bands hail from either Washington — Surprise Attack, Suga Grits, RADII, Backbeat Underground — or Annapolis — Sarah Paige, LaRosa, Shawn Owen Band, Nicky Stacy, Guava Jelly, and more.
Good food and libations are the other attraction.
“We’ll have over 20 food vendors including a big variety of hot sauces, which will be a growing element in going forward,” said Zero.
Just some of the food trucks coming to Nextival include Baltimore Crabcake Co., Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, Smoking Swine, Truck of Deliciousness, Peruvian Brothers, Chix n Stix and Red, Red Wine on Wheels serving up wine, sangria and other drinks. On tap there will be beers from Union Brewery, RAR, Narragansett, DCBRau and more. Stan and Joes will be serving crushes.
And this year the festival is abandoning the food and drink ticket system so patrons can pay cash, or use plastic, and avoid the extra line to get tickets.
Camping is a popular feature with some 150 spaces, or more, available for those who might want to have a good time — especially with the headliner band going on at 9 p.m. for two sets — and avoid the ride home. The campsites will be open early on Saturday morning with an 11 a.m. check out Sunday morning.
“We’ve got plenty of space,” Zero said.
And then there’s helicopter rides offered on a first come first served basis. They sell out every year so reserve a time slot early. There are two rides offered, a five-minute flight up and around the festival grounds and a 10-minute flight that will see Annapolis and the Bay Bridge. Ride tickets are $45 and $65, respectively.
With help from Dogwood Acres, a local kennel, dogs will be allowed at the festival. “Dogwood Acres will be providing a puppy pool, treats, water and pup-sicles to keep dogs, and their owners happy,” Zero said.