On The Town

Hot August Blues at Oregon Ridge

The Oregon Ridge festival highlights local and national acts.

By Jess Mayhugh | August 21, 2012, 10:00 am

On The Town

Hot August Blues at Oregon Ridge

The Oregon Ridge festival highlights local and national acts.

By Jess Mayhugh | August 21, 2012, 10:00 am

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.

This past Saturday I went up to Oregon Ridge for Hot August Blues, an annual blues and roots festival that always has an impressive lineup. This year included Gov't Mule, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Justin Townes Earle, Cris Jacobs Band, and many others.

The cost of the festival ends up being a little steep if you procrastinate (which, let's be honest, many of us do): $49 plus a $9 parking pass. But, if you think about what you're getting, it's not so bad—nearly 12 hours of music on multiple stages in a bucolic setting. The perfect 80-degree weather on Saturday didn't hurt either.

Plus, once inside the festival, the prices really weren't too bad. For $5, you got a 20-oz. cup of Magic Hat, either their IPA or #9, which is pretty much the same price you'd pay at any bar. The food and all the vendors selling everything from dreamcatchers to henna tattoos all seemed reasonable, too.

Some of my favorite performances included JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, who I've written about before. They played the second stage near the entrance and got a pretty huge crowd that migrated over from the main amphitheater. I wish that the band could have performed on a bigger stage, as their Motown/rockabilly sound could have easily filled the space.

I also liked the international flare of Colombia's Locos Por Juana who played the main stage and seamlessly fused funk, reggae, hip-hop and Latin rhythms to keep the crowd thoroughly entertained. Justin Townes Earle was another favorite of mine, though I think his emotional country-soul ballads might have worked better on a smaller, more intimate stage. But I think his fame (and perhaps, his father Steve Earle's fame, as well) validated his main-stage billing.

A band I was really excited for, who lived up to the hype, was Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, pictured. They had all of the old-school jazz, funk, and soul you'd expect from a New Orleans group—but also merged it with some hard rock and hip-hop. They reminded me of a Louisiana version of The Roots. Check out their 2011 release For True to get an idea.

All told, the festival is a great excuse to plop down your camping chair and listen to some of the most talented national acts touring right now—all in a beautiful, natural amphitheater just a half-an-hour away from the city.

[Image: courtesy of Jordan August Photography]




Meet The Author
Jess Mayhugh is the digital editor for Baltimore, where she covers nightlife, sports, food, and events.

You May Also Like


Arts & Culture

Music Reviews: September 2017

The latest from J Pope and the HearNow and J. Roddy Walston and the Business.

Arts & Culture

Top Ten with Wendel Patrick

The musician and Peabody professor shares his favorite things.

Arts & Culture

Book Reviews: September 2017

A photography book from Amy Davis and a collection of H.L. Mencken columns.


Arts District

Seth Hurwitz Talks About Opening The Anthem in Southwest D.C.

Venue will be ideal middle ground between Merriweather Post Pavilion and 9:30 Club.

Arts & Culture

Washington D.C. Arts Guide

From concerts and art exhibits to comedy and theater, we round up the best events to check out in the District.

MaxSpace

Review: Ingrid Goes West

Instagram gets the skewering it deserves.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Pillow Talk
Add a pop of color, texture, and personality to any room.

Small World
Small batch products are bigger than ever.

A Gallery of Inspiration
In her rowhome and studio, artist Espi Frazier surrounds herself with objects that stir her.

The Launch: October 2017
Our nine musts from this month's calendar of events.

Top Ten with Wendel Patrick
The musician and Peabody professor shares his favorite things.