Food & Drink

Moonrise Festival's second attempt to take place at Pimlico

The Moonrise Festival is getting a second chance. The two-day music festival is scheduled to take place Aug. 9 and 10 at Pimlico Race Course, according to festival partner Evan Weinstein.

Last June, Pretty Lights and Snoop Dogg were scheduled to headline the first-ever Moonrise Festival at Port Covington. Tickets were sold, the event was promoted but there was one problem: Organizers failed to obtain the necessary permits to put on a large outdoor concert.

All proper permits have already been obtained, according to Weinstein, whose company Steez Promo is producing the event with Glow D.C.


"We're good with the city," Weinstein said on Wednesday afternoon. "We took the right steps this year to make sure the event happens."

Caron Brace, spokeswoman for the mayor's office, said city officials met with Maryland Jockey Club and Moonrise's promoters to review the festival's proposal.


"We approve of what they put forward," Brace said. "We're in support of it taking place at Pimlico racetrack and find it to be a more suitable and appropriate location than the public park that was proposed before."

After last year's cancellation, many ticket-buyers expressed their anger and disappointment through social media. (The feedback to another event Weinstein was recently involved with, the Maryland Bacon Festival, was largely critical of poor planning and execution.)

Weinstein said the issues that ultimately canceled last year's event are no longer a problem for Moonrise.

"We made some missteps last year that prevented the event from happening, and we didn't make those same mistakes twice," he said.

Early-bird tickets go on sale Friday at noon via Performances will take place between 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on both days.

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Weinstein would not disclose any of the acts scheduled to take Moonrise's four stages, but said the lineup will satisfy a wide range of music fans. (The lineup will be announced in phases, with the first announcement coming in "early June," Weinstein said.)

"There's a lot of [electronic dance music acts] but there's also going to be a lot of other things," Weinstein said. "It's all over the map really. We've gone beyond our typical comfort zones to really put together a diverse lineup."

Pimlico Race Course is no stranger to hosting large concerts. In 2006, the first Virgin Festival (now known as Virgin Mobile FreeFest) featured Red Hot Chili Peppers. Last weekend, Lorde and Nas performed there for Preakness Stakes' Infieldfest. And on June 8, Skrillex will headline a date of his Mothership Tour at the course.


Last year's Moonrise Festival was promoted as the successor to Starscape Festival, the annual electronic dance music festival that took place at Fort Armistead Park from 1999-2012. (Starscape's 14-year run ended amid safety concerns and drug overdoses at the last event. The city said it would deny future permits for Starscape at the park.) Weinstein said Wednesday that Moonrise is a new festival with no connection to Starscape.

Councilwoman Rochelle Spector, whose district includes Pimlico Race Course, said the venue's defined rules and regulations for live entertainment events — such as having a firm end-time and a decibel limit — alleviated her concerns. She said the Starscape Festival was "out of control" but Moonrise is "a different animal."

"They have much different venue [regulations at Pimlico] than they did at the park," Spector said Wednesday. Spector added that she believed representatives from Pimlico had informed surrounding neighborhood associations of the festival, and did not receive pushback.

"There's a terrific relationship between the racetrack and the neighbors, and [Pimlico] would not jeopardize that," Spector said.