Adults sip wine, children play, up-tempo music fills the summer air, and families eat picnic foods on checkered blankets and beach towels. This isn’t Wolf Trap; it’s The Main Street Music Festival at the Main Street Pavilion in Kentlands.
This summer marks the third annual festival presented by Pritchard Festival Productions and sponsored by the Pritchard Music Academy. The free Thursday night concert began on June 14 with popular rock group The Nighthawks and will continue each week through Aug. 2 with acts spotlighting artists Janine Gilbert Carter, Bad Influence, The U.S. Army Field Band Brass Quintet, Ruthie and the Wranglers, Damon Foremon and Blue Funk, Time Finch and the Eastman String Band, and Vicki Genfan.
The concerts, which begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday nights, are sponsored by the city of Gaithersburg, Verizon and local businesses such as the Main Street Cafe, Qdoba and new neighborhood popcorn vendor Popkorn Mama, which will open later this summer adjacent to The Star Diner. The biggest sponsor of the festival, however, is also its organizer: Pritchard Music Academy.
Joe Pritchard, vice president of Pritchard Music Academy, said the idea behind the festival is not only for it to serve as a “big thank you to our neighbors” in Kentlands and Lakelands, but also a way to show off the Kentlands business community to people from outside the immediate area.
A local act takes the mic to warm up the audience each week before the headliner. These musicians are all tied to a Kentlands business and/or live in the neighborhood themselves. Those who attended the June 14 concert got a special treat during the warm-up, with Joe Pritchard himself joining in on the act with his ukulele.
The festival is a family event that Pritchard said has a strong community feel. Some people come early and enjoy a dinner at the Main Street Cafe before the show, then drink wine and listen as the concert unfolds. Others bring picnics, either from home or takeout from any number of nearby restaurants.
Averaging 250 concert attendees on a given night, Pritchard said The Main Street Music Festival may be small, but it’s growing fast and has a “big festival feel.” Despite this, Pritchard and his wife, Becky, do most of the set-up themselves, staying late to clean up sound and lighting equipment once all guests have gone home. They are grateful to have the help of a nonprofit organization, Youth For Understanding, to lend a hand with pre- and post-show work this year.
With the exception of the June 28 show, which features the U.S. Army Field Band and a few young students from the music academy, the musicians who perform at the festival are paid with money from sponsors and from the Academy itself. Pritchard insists on fair wages for festival performers despite tightened purse strings due to the sluggish economy.
“We don’t cheap out on our musicians because we are musicians ourselves,” he said.
While all sponsors are greatly appreciated and essential to the continuation of the annual festival, Pritchard said the city of Gaithersburg has the greatest presence in the yearly endeavor.
“We have a great working relationship,” he said. “A private company and the city work together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.”
Individuals looking to support the summer festival have several options. Main Street Music Festival t-shirts are available for purchase at $20 dollars each, money can be donated directly to Pritchard Festival Productions, or concert-goers can enter the raffle to win a brand new guitar or ukulele. One raffle ticket is $2, or a “wingspan” (the distance, in tickets, from the tip of one outstretched arm to the other on any given entrant) of tickets is $10. The drawing will take place on Aug. 2 during the final show of the summer. Entrants need not be present to win.
Additional sponsorship opportunities are available as well. For more information, email Sponsor@TheMainStreetMusicFestival.com.
July Summer Entertainment
City of Gaithersburg Free Outdoor Events
- June 28, 10:30 a.m. – noon: Ed McDade, City Hall Concert Pavilion
- July 4, 7 – 9 p.m.: Back to Zero, Montgomery County Fairgrounds (Independence Day concert, followed by fireworks at dusk)
- July 5, 10:30 a.m. – noon: Reptile’s Alive, City Hall Concert Pavilion
- July 6, 7 – 8:45 p.m.: The Big Payback Concert — Tribute to James Brown, City Hall Concert Pavilion
- July 12, 10:30 a.m. – noon: Peter Wood — Comedy/Magic, City Hall Concert Pavilion
- July 12, dusk: “Puss in Boots,” M. King Park
- July 19, 10:30 a.m. – noon: Kidsinger Jim, City Hall Concert Pavilion
- July 20, 7 – 8:30 p.m.: Family Fun Night — Circus Celebration, City Hall Concert Pavilion
- July 26, 10:30 a.m. – noon: Uncle Pete, City Hall Concert Pavilion
Visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov/onstage for more information.
Star Diner Concert Series
Concerts are held every Friday and Saturday night from 7 – 10 p.m. outside Star Diner.
- June 29: Platform Soul
- June 30: Sandra Dean Band
- July 6: The Main Event
- July 7: Capitol Blues Ensemble
- July 13: Solomon’s Gold
- July 14: Dosage
- July 20: On The Bus
- July 21: Sandra Dean Band
- July 27: Platform Soul
- July 28: Patty Reese
Visit www.StarDinerKentlands.com for more information.
Washingtonian Center Events
- Live Music on the Plaza: Friday nights in front of Uncle Julio’s
- Rio Summer Concerts: Live music from 6 – 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night on the Rio Patio near the paddleboats.
- Little Tots: Fun and lively family entertainment every Wednesday all summer long. All morning Little Tots will be held inside Rio Center’s lower level atrium, near the movie theatre. All evening Little Tots will be held on the Lakefront Plaza Stage.
- Bach 2 Rock Student Showcase: On the last Friday of the month, now through August, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. outside of Uncle Julio’s.
For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.washingtoniancenter.com and click on “Events.”
Rockville Town Square Events
- Friday Night Live Concert Series: 6:30 – 9 p.m.
- Kids’ Night: Two live stage shows every Tuesday night, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Kids eat free at participating restaurants.
- Movies on the Square: Wednesday Nights. Bring your own blanket or lawn chairs. No coolers or outside food permitted.
- June 27: “Dolphin Tale”
- July 4: “Independence Day”
- July 11: “Soul Surfer”
- July 18: “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”
- July 25: “Miracle”
- Wine Down: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Featuring live acoustic music as well as wine and food samples from Rockville Town Square restaurants.
For more information visit www.rockvilletownsquare.com and click on “events.”