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Ellicott City's Main Street Music Fest heads back to its roots

Kate Magill
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Main Street Music Fest will be back on Ellicott City’s historic Main Street this year, a year after the festival was forced to be held at Merriweather Post Pavilion as a result of the July 30, 2016 flood.

Now in its sixth year, the Sept. 23 festival will feature 56 artists and bands from across the mid-Atlantic, who will appear on seven stages up and down Main Street throughout the day. Local businesses will also offer food and drinks, including a specially made collaborative beer from local breweries Jailbreak Brewing Co. and Flying Dog Brewery, originally brewed to help aid Ellicott City flood recovery.

Three stages will be outside, at Parking Lot D, the parking lot of Wine Bin and Tiber Park. The other four stages are indoors, at the Howard County Historical Museum, Phoenix Emporium, La Palapa and Manor Hill Tavern.

Headliners for the festival include Kelly Bell Band, The Henchmen, Lionize, RÊVE and Victims of Experience. The festival also has several local corporate sponsors, including Antwerpen Toyota, The J. Melvin Group from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Jailbreak Brewing Co., Howard Bank Mortgage, Paul Reed Smith Guitars and the Ellicott City Partnership.

The festival began six years ago, created by friends Andy Hall and Brandon Ruth, who were both working at Cacao Lane Restaurant on Main Street at the time. Ruth had just returned from performing at the music festival South by Southwest with his band Sin 4 Sin, and the two noticed the lack of a fall music festival in the area. This sparked the idea for Main Street Music Fest, which Hall said they established with the intention to incorporate restaurants into the format.

Now an attorney at the firm King|Hall in Ellicott City, Hall will perform in this year’s festival with his band Dropping Sully, in which he plays guitar. Hall said Ruth won’t be performing in the festival this year, but will be one of more than 6,000 people estimated to be in attendance.

Hall said he is “very happy” to bring the family-friendly festival back to Main Street, since the location is the “ethos of the event.”

“We wanted to create an event that had a lot of great music from local and regional artists,” Hall said. “But also highlight our hometown of Ellicott City to bring as many people as we can to see this gem of a town.”

Hall said he initially didn’t know if the festival could return to Main Street this year, since it depends on bars and restaurants to host stages, many of which were closed for months following the flood. It wasn’t until the six month anniversary of the flood in January that Hall said he was confident the festival could come back to its home base.

Since then, he said it’s been a “dusting off of the old playbook” to plan the festival.

Kevin Hock, a member of one of the festival headliners, The Henchmen, said performing in the festival for the third time on Main Street is a chance to come to “one of the most magical places on Earth.”

“Merriweather is cool, but historic Ellicott City is where it belongs,” Hock said. “It’s just fun for the whole family and it’s a great day to just forget any troubles your life might have and have a blast.”

Main Street Music Fest:

When: Saturday, Sept. 23, 12 p.m.- 8p.m.

Where: Stages will be set up throughout Main Street in Historic Ellicott City at Parking Lot D, the parking lot at the Wine Bin, Tiber Park, Howard County Historical Museum, Phoenix Emporium, La Palapa and Manor Hill Tavern.

Who: The festival includes 56 artists, with Kelly Bell Band, The Henchmen, Lionize, RÊVE and Victims of Experience as headliners.

Cost: The event is free to attend, but a number of local vendors and restaurants will be selling merchandise and food, including Serene Lavender Farm, Milk Reclamation Barn, La Palapa and Jailbreak Brewing Co.

For more information: Go to

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