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Virgin Mobile FreeFest: Bringing Music to Economically-Strapped Times

Check out Virgin Music's North American all-day music festival, with an economical twist.

Photo by lislisdotnet

Originally started in 2006 as the US variation of Virgin Mobile’s V Festival in the UK, Virgin Mobile Festival has become a staple to the Washington DC/Baltimore area end of the summer live music calendar. While past years have varied between one- and two-day schedules at venues closer to Baltimore, the festival seems to have settled in to a 1-day, 3-stage event.

Starting in 2009, due to the downward shift in the economy, Virgin Mobile announced that the festival would be free of charge for all attendees. Tickets since then have been free, and get sold out rather quickly after going on sale. To encourage attendees to help out in their community during the economic hardships, tickets also become available by volunteering locally, and through VIP tickets whose profits go to donations for youth homelessness charities.

This year’s all-day festival was at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD – about midway between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. This line-up included: TV on the Radio, The Black Keys, Two Door Cinema Club, Cut Copy, Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, and others. With a main pavilion stage, a side festival stage, and a dance tent stage, there were plenty to choose from.

Packed in my bag were my Sprocket Rocket and my Diana Mini, my go-to festival toys.

The main pavilion stage had a standing pit up front, as well as pavilion-style seating. This meant that you could get up-close for a club feel. Otherwise, you could enjoy sitting back in the actual seating, while still staying out of the sun. A third option to listen to the pavilion stage was to sit out in the lawn if you brought a blanket.

After catching Bombay Bicycle Club at the pavilion stage, I decided to check out the other stages. Even walking around, you never knew what you’d run into.

The festival stage had a completely different feel to the main stage, as it was out in the grassy field, under the heat and rain. If you didn’t want to get up close to the festival stage, there was always the option of catching the music from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

Once I was tired of just standing in the crowds, I decided to get my dancing shoes on. So I went over to the Dance Stage. Set among the shade of the trees, away from the other two stages, the dance stage was packed, but friendly enough that everyone had their own dance space.

While most of the acts at the dance stage were DJs, they each had their own unique light show.

By the time night hit, the lights, music, and all out atmosphere went a bit crazy with fun.

More Info:
Virgin Mobile Festival

written by lislisdotnet

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