Hot August Music Festival

Cockeysville, MD, Saturday, Aug. 16

written by Cliff Tyler

Saturday, August 16th 2014 was a day that offered many great musical options in the mid Atlantic region.  A hefty amount of jam fans turned out to support the recently re-named Hot August Music Festival in Cockeysville, Md.  With a strong one-day lineup, reasonable ticket price, and super chill location, who could blame them?   Sometimes you just can’t swing a 3-4 day festival and it’s nice to see an option that offers the same vibe in a smaller serving. IMG_8094 Formerly knows as Hot August Blues and Roots Festival, the past few lineups have welcomed a nice spectrum of artists leading to the generalizing of the festivals name.  This years schedule contained a heavy dose of Americana and a nice taste of pretty much everything else you could expect at a music festival.  Featuring excellent local acts, great mid level bands, and nationally touring artists, Hot August Music Festival was an easy sell. IMG_8033 This years headliners did some serious pickin.  Old Crow Medicine Show has developed into what some would call the best new age bluegrass band around.  They always bring a high-energy show that gets everybody dancing and will surely send you home singing the night away.  This particular evening was no different as the fellas tore through their catalog offering up tunes both new and finely aged.  Before the evening came to a close we were treated to a pair of covers in Bobby Bare’s “The Streets of Baltimore” and Tom Petty’s summer sing-a-long “American Girl”.  Their obligatory version of “Wagon Wheel” was also a highlight as it proved to the best one I’ve heard in at least a few days.  (Journalistic jokes are tough, so I hope you laughed!) Rolling out one of the most anticipated albums and tours of the year, Alt Bluegrass giants Nickel Creek stopped by Oregon Ridge for a nice set.  Using basic bluegrass instruments and inspirations, their music often strays far from the old time genre and into a more cerebral realm.  After an active day jaunting around the grounds it was nice to relax to their soft and soothing sounds.  Other main stage acts also included Dr. Dog, Houndmouth, and Bosley. IMG_8114 Two additional stages also hosted a bunch of great acts.  Tab Benoit and Turkuaz round out the national artist booked to the show.  Turkuaz was especially enjoyable if you like to funk things up a bit.  The state just a few miles north of the festival grounds has produced some great bands in recent years and Cabinet is right at the forefront of that list.  Their tight melodies and pure harmonies left a raucous crowd high on Pennsylvania bluegrass!   Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds might just be the band that unexpectedly blows your socks off that you might never have seen and probably should. If you like good music, don’t miss them because soulful vocals and pure Rock ‘n Roll makes everybody happy right? IMG_8074 Hot August Music Festival has always been located just a little north of Baltimore.  A great cross section of local talent showcased the strong Charm City music scene.  Dance party favorites ELM have all but perfected a unique version of live band electronica with the inclusion of vocals.  They served up electronic love live a well-oiled machine!   Jordan August Band featuring an all-star lineup of local musicians, Ursula Ricks, and the Solicitors respectively completed the already stacked lineup.  A nice selection of food and craft vendors located conveniently between the two larger stages also offered up some beautiful and tasty options to exchange money for. IMG_8169 The concert venue at Oregon Ridge Park also deserves mention as a highlight of the event.  Minutes from the city limits you find yourself amongst rolling hills and wooded areas.  The park was originally used for skiing and you can still see evidence of the clear paths heading up a relatively steep mini mountain and a few remaining lift poles.  As you can imagine, wintertime transforms the grounds into a sledding paradise for both young and old.  The main stage is permanent, quaint and has a great low sloped viewing area.  Sunscreen was applied liberally but there was plenty of shade to be shared.  There was also ample room to bring the family and many did.  Festivarians of all ages came together on this fine day to rejoice. Great Music, Great Location, Great Price, and a Great Time are what the Hot August Festivals have become known for.  Make sure you and your friends are a part of it next year.  With ticket prices ranging from $50-170, there is sure to be a package that’s affordable.  There is plenty of lodging with in a couple of miles of the venue so it’s also easily accessible to out of towners. Head on over to their site at for more information!