Story and Photos by Gene Smirnov /

August 4th and 5th
Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, MD

Every year Virgin Mobile puts on a great, well thought out festival that gets all the music fans to Baltimore! Smack in the middle of suburban setting of the city, the two day festival takes off at the rustic horse racing grounds. Organizers proved they had created an event that could keep everybody happy. Whether you like a popular rock band, more of an indie type, or even experimental dance music, you wouldn’t be disappointed. You can even just lay out on the grass and let Explosions in the sky take your mind for a ride.

With the unforgiving 100 degree weather, the festival kicked in quick with unpredictable band The Fratellis and the very soulful Amy Winehouse. Despite the great favorites Incubus and Peter, Bjorn and John, the highlight of the day of course, were the Beastie Boys (who’s prior to date photos you can see in our gallery). The boys from Brooklyn were immaculate in their past/present communication, it was definitely Ill, or should I say sick? Everyone loved them and I could not get enough.

The dance tent was packed pretty much at all times where the crowd hungering for rave and dance was definitely satisfied with great performances of Sasha & John Digweed, the Crystal Method and others all day long. In case of being exhausted from heat and dancing, anybody had an opportunity to refresh at relaxation tent with free shots of tea and options for a great massage.

Each day gathered different people. On the first evening Modest Mouse couldn’t compete with The Police for crowd size. While The Police had a solid presence on stage, Modest Mouse definitely stayed most prominent in my memory. Their art-project like intro was very original and really fit the band. With their catchy sounds and prose- like lyrics really captured the crowd. The Mouse covered both of the latest albums in their hour long set, extensive for the festival.

The mixed culture of this event brought all sorts of people in one place of music, drinking, dancing, wrestling and acrobats not to forget the endless choices of food. Organizers really tried their best with green effort. The disposable cups were made of earth friendly corn based products. Recycling opportunity awaited in the form of bins on every corner. However, such valiant efforts were not made by concert goers whose litter was strewn across the grass.

The overcast weather with the cool breeze on the second day helped Matisyahu awaken the lazy crowd. A great overall set, the culmination of which was King Without a Crown was well received by the fans. As the sun was going down, the music was getting louder. With great performances by Panic at the Disco and Yeah Yeah Yeahs things were definitely started to pick up. Karen O’s energetic performance stood out with her unique moves and expressions. Interpol bravely stood their ground for an hour of rain and Smashing Pumpkins, who reunited for a tour this summer, finished this great day.

All in all, it was very exciting to see this event blossoming even more by the hour. With a very unusual assortment of bands and great activities, this festival wasn’t just about music, it was about the culture, the spirit, the energy, the art and the people.

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