Catonsville will host the Music City Maryland Festival next weekend, located around the downtown Frederick Road area.
The festival will present more than 30 bands to perform on four stages from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 28, featuring State Fare’s “Artist Showcase” stage, Catonsville Gourmet’s “Jammin” stage, 818 Market’s “80′s revolution stage, and El Guapo’s “Legends” stage.
“We were thrilled to organize this event,” said Dennis Barth, president and CEO of Sun Rider 9 Productions. “We started blossoming out trying to create more of a music scene here rather than just what was being seen … we try to do different things, showcasing more original and diverse music.”
The events are free of charge taking place whether it is rain or shine, providing beer gardens, an art zone for “wine and painting,” Lego tables for kids, a place to make pottery, face painting for the kids, and food and beverages with dozens of vendors, according to Sun Rider 9 Production’s website.
The celebration comes after Catonsville was recognized as the county’s first state-designated Arts & Entertainment District in 2019, after county official’s attempts to make art a more centralized tourism draw. Another idea behind the nomination was bringing tax breaks designed to attract artists and developers.
Last year, the coronavirus pandemic struck the nation as soon as Sun Rider 9 Production began organizing the event, Barth said.
“With this designation coming out, we’re just really excited about that and we wanted to have a celebration and do something to bring people into town and help give these restaurants and local shops a little bit of a boost since they were hit so hard like the rest of the country has been because of the pandemic,” he said.
In 2002, the Maryland General Assembly designated Catonsville as, “Music City, Maryland” in honor of its rich music heritage and abundant music resources.
“The term [’Music City’] derived from it having a lot of music stores initially because we have Bill’s Music House, Guitar Exchange, and we have Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe,” Barth said. “A lot of people used to come to Catonsville and they still do really to shop for music instruments.”
Today, the southwestern suburb lives up to its nickname through outdoor concerts and concert-hall productions that include Frederick Road Friday’s free summer concert series, Lurman Woodland Theater’s free summer concert series, UMBC’s Arts & Culture Calendar, Catonsville Presbyterian Concert Series and the Charlestown Retirement Community — which offers two concert series.
The district designation was a proposal that was years in the making and Downtown Catonsville was a natural pick for the county’s first designation, the president of the Baltimore County Arts Guild said in 2019.