Lunar Bay Music and Arts Festival
June 29-30 Havre de Grace, MD
written by Kaylee Zielinski
photos copyright Claire Wigglesworth
On June 29th and 30th, Lunar Bay Music and Arts Festival blossomed at the Steppingstone Museum in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Being a native of Harford County I was extremely impressed and looking forward to having a festival in my small hometown. As a kid I would go to the State Park and even ride boats on the river. To see this land of mass greenery be transformed into a full blown music festival was incredible. The venue was wonderfully set up as the two main stages had their backs facing the water. It was remarkable being able to see hills and valleys along with the Susquehanna river in the background.
The wide, pleasing variety of music was well received amongst attendees and most weren’t able to choose a favorite. Nick Stampone, bassist from Second Self was particularly blown away by moe. “It was my first time seeing them. I had a seat on one on the many wooden benches set out around the middle of the field. Moe was tearing it up, it was amazing. I was just kinda sitting there in awe with my mouth hanging open. Every once in a while I would break from my trance and notice my surroundings. The stage lights dancing around on all the people and trees, the amazingly clear and starry sky, the super comfy bench, the friendly drunk lady sitting next to me as if we have known each other our entire lives. It was a real special moment.” Other headliners like Keller Williams, Anders Osborne, Steve Kimock and Tea Leaf Green also took the stage.
Many agree that the local and more mid level bands made the weekend. Harford County resident, Mike Griffith loved how many local HarCo bands played this weekend. “My favorite performance was Second Self and to see a crowd gather around the barn to support them really kicked off the weekend with a bang. Lunar Bay really had the perfect balance of local and national acts”. Other on the rise bands included Pasadena, Fiery Deep, Yellow Dubmarine, Chris Jacobs & The Band, Bumpin’ Uglies, Psycho Killers, Freedom Enterprise, Shakey Graves, All Mighty Senators, Sol Driven Train and Appalachian Jamwich’s Featured Musicians for July, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.
Since the festival was held on very intimate property this allowed for people to roam and dance freely while getting up close and personal to their favorite performing bands. Alison Bojarski who was born in Harford County but currently lives in New Orleans came back to check out the event. “I was so proud that such an awesome festival came out of my hometown” she says, “honestly, I couldn’t have expected anything better. There is no way I’m missing such an awesome venue in such a beautiful location”.
Cliff Tyler, guitarist from Fiery Deep appreciated the hospitality from staff and production and said that “the overall beauty of the venue combined with the star treatment that ALL artists extended was my favorite thing”. The VIP security and staff were extremely respectful and kind when checking wristbands and collecting loose beach balls on the run.
Keller Williams set was a particularly fun as he got back to his roots and jammed solo. He gave shout outs and admired artists who had played throughout the weekend. Williams even gave an explanation as to why he jumped in on the Psycho Killers, “This Must Be The Place,” claiming that he was going to play the same song in his set. Jon Wood, guitarist and vocalist for the Psycho Killers enjoyed Williams set the most. “I really dug Keller’s set” said Wood. “He was giving shout outs to the bands that played earlier, which I thought was really cool. Of course I enjoyed our set cause we had some excellent musicians sitting in with us, and the monitor mix was on point”.
Lunar Bay also offered over a dozen unique and affordable vendors who sold items like tie dyes, pottery, soap, woven baskets and even exceptional gemstones. Griffith was happy with his selection of purchases and walked away with some awesome pins, patches, stickers and crystals. Bojarski spent the weekend stuffing her face with the pulled pork sandwich that had delicious slaw dumped on top. “That sandwich was so amazing I got a total of three all weekend” boasted Bojarski. A local pub, Looney’s even had a food truck serving tacos, brats, and fish and chips.
Some of the only complaints about this event were the camping accommodations and the lack of printed booklets or signs that showcased set times for the artists. Attendee’s missed certain acts due to confusion and not having their cell phones on them. “I like to leave my cell phone in the car so I don’t lose it. Since the only way to look at the set times was through my phone, I missed certain performances” says Bojarski. Many agree that for the future, simply having big signs with the schedules printed on it throughout the festival would be better than nothing at all.
Camping was not on site but there were shuttles helping people get back to the camp ground. Griffith thinks that offering onsite camping could really benefit the festival and draw in more people. “Offering onsite camping would really make this a legitimate music festival because without it, it makes transitioning to the next day difficult. That combined with the troubles campers had at the suggested camp site just made for an unnecessary inconvenience for the weekend.”
The music and collaborations at Lunar Bay was unlike any other festival as it featured small and local bands who are currently killing it on the music scene. All attendees were impressed with the land, set up and friendly hospitality. Lunar Bay is definitely the event to be on the look out for within the festival circuit.
“A two day festival where you get to see all of these bands in one swoop, really puts it into perspective. Maryland really does have a great music scene, and Lunar Bay proves that” concludes Stampone.
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