Six concerts for the price of free at Common Ground on the Town

Six concerts for the price of free at Common Ground on the Town
Chris James, center, performs Juke Joint Blues with Professor Louie, left, and Joe Selly during the Common Ground on the Hill Roots Music and Arts Festival in 2016. James will be one of six acts performing on Saturday, July 7, 2018 during Common Ground on the Town in Westminster. (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times)

Westminster will be alive with the sound of music Saturday, July 7 as the performers of Common Ground on the Hill filter out into the city for a day of free performances.

There’s a genre for almost every taste, with musicians performing jazz, Celtic fiddle, alt-grass and more at six different venues.


Walt Michael, founder of Common Ground, said the Westminster performances help include people in the Common Ground festivities who might not otherwise be aware of them.

“[People think] it’s only for the college people. It’s not, it’s for everybody,” he said.

With the food and conversation, and the chance for guests to walk down the street popping in and out of the different venues, it creates a “carnival atmosphere.”

Two of the venues, Giulianova Groceria and JeannieBird Baking Company are new this year.

Baltimore Red with ​Wayne Werner & Friends will play 8-11 p.m. at Johanssons Dining House and Restaurant,4 W. Main Street.

In the earlier part of the evening, Harry Orlove will play JeannieBird Baking Company & Cafe, 42 W. Main Street, from 7-10 p.m.

To accompany his jazz guitar stylings, wine and cheese will be served.

Christopher James will perform with Jon Seligman and Mark Shatz at Giulianova Groceria, 11 E. Main Street from 8-11 p.m.

He said they’ve been going out on the town for the event since it started.

“It might sound odd at first,” he said, but he’s played the venue before and it’s a great stage.

“It’s the most fun anyone’s ever had in an Italian grocery store,” he said. “It’ll be a big party in there.”

The group will play a blues and bluegrass set. James in an instructor at Coffey Music in Westminster.

Henry Reiff Trio, made up of Reiff, Robert O’Neal and Jough Loosemore will play Rafael's, 32 W. Main Street, from 8-11 p.m.

Reiff said the idea of the performances outreaching into the city of Westminster was a “win-win” for the performers, the Common Ground organizers and the merchants who will draw in guests with live music.


“It’s a tremendous gift to the community,” he said.

The trio will perform a set heavy with jazz standards, so fans of the genre will likely hear a few of their favorites. All three are also members of the Sunday Night Big Band.

Pete Clark, of Scotland, with Ralph Gordon will bring a taste of Celtic fiddle to the patrons of O'Lordans Irish Pub and Restaurant, 14 Liberty Street, from 8-11 p.m.

The Eastman String Band will play the stage outside the ​Westminster Public Library, 50 E. Main Street, from 8-10 p.m.

Coming off of a 10-day tour in China, the band is returning to the stage where they have played every year of Common Ground on the Town.

“We see a lot of regulars, and we see a lot of new people too,” he said.

The alt-grass ensemble will play many of their original songs for the Library guests. More info is available at

“It’s a blast,” Finch said.

The Roots Music and Arts Festival closes the three weeks of classes, featuring music from Grammy nominated and winning musicians. This summer, Americana music trio, the Kruger Brothers, will headline Saturday, July 14 concert at 5 p.m. and more than 50 other artists will perform on four stages.

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