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In the DMV—D.C., Maryland, Virginia—tri-state area, a music movement is underway. This article focuses on Maryland’s role in the transition. Communities, from the artists themselves to political figures to fellow artists and collectives, actively promote artists. With the hope of nourishing talent and building audiences, these efforts are rendering results. Learn how Maryland’s push to gain greater audiences benefits listeners.

Maryland’s political figures are working to promote musical talent, expanding performance opportunities and concert opportunities in the summer months

Maryland’s diverse music scene is no secret. To promote this scene, musicians, businesses, and political figures are strategizing. For example, this past May, Governor Larry Hogan launched a new tourism initiative with the “Summer of Music.” The goal is simple and short-term: emphasize Maryland’s music in the summer months. This initiative may lead to others in the future, as it has been successful so far. The summer months will hold twenty-five multiday music festivals Between May 24 and September 23. From the Chesapeake Bay to Baltimore to Ocean City, Maryland prides itself on its entertainment options. Community members see music as a vehicle to encourage Marylanders and out-of-state travelers to explore the nooks and crannies of the state. The great news for those interested in watching concerts in Maryland is that people want you to come out and listen. There is no need to worry about an exclusionary atmosphere here.

Some of the festivals contributing to Maryland’s “Summer of Music” including: DelFest, Maryland Deathfest, Annapolis Irish Festival, Western Maryland Blues Fest, Capital Jazz Fest, Washington Folk Festival, Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, Columbia Festival of the Arts, Music in the Mountains Summer Festival, Maryland Doom Fest, The Nextival, Artscape, Moonrise Festival, National Folk Festival, and Sunfest.

Maryland is filled with ways for listeners to support their favorite artists, allowing hand-selected local talent to prosper in tight-knit environments

In some places, listeners have few ways to support their favorite artists. If there are too few venues, even the best bands will be performing fewer shows. If there is an oversaturation of bands, lineups will be packed and setlists will be slashed. If there is a lack of meetup spaces, musicians will not have spaces to sell merchandise and meet fans. If there is a lack of accessible recording resources, musicians will be unable to create albums and Eps. These are some of the many barriers that can burden creators and reduce their ability to shine. Despite these potential challenges, Maryland has found a way to support their startup talent. For listeners, this means that interacting with the content of your favorite local artists is easy.

For concert lovers who want an intimate feel with close ups of their favorite musicians, the Ottobar is a good choice. This indie rock club is known for bringing in brilliant and famous groups, such as Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab for Cutie, and the White Stripes. Local performers have the chance to take up the distinguished stage and play. M3 Rock Festival and Pier Six offer similar ways for audiences to support their favorite creators. Finally, for listeners who want something tangible, Sound Garden is a national pillar. This music store has endured the rise of digital music, although it offers CDs, LPs, albums, and various audio equipment. Regularly, Sound Garden is graced with appearances and even performances by local and national artists. Pick up an artist’s newest album after seeing them jam. It is the perfect throwback to record store culture married with contemporary upgrades.

Maryland supports artists by developing collectives, which focus on community aspects of creating and listening

Collectives are groups of people who work together on a common project without applied internal hierarchies. They operate under the idea that there is strength in numbers. For musicians in states like Maryland, the potential of collectives to organize the power of artists is catching on, particularly in Baltimore. One of these collectives in the Creative Alliance. Since 1995, they have prided themselves on building community by brining diverse artists and audiences together. They support artists, encourage Baltimore’s creative production, and advocate for sociocultural expression. To musicians, collectives offer studio spaces, recording spaces, performance venues, bigger audiences, professional support, regular events, collaboration partners, local connections, and community development. Wham City is another Baltimore collective doing incredible things. They promote artistry through TV talk shows, photo shoots, fashion shows, lectures, dinners, dance parties, and video and theater productions. What unites these members is that the conversations and creative energy is focused on elements of pop culture, such as cartoons, comics, video games, films, and other iconic pieces. With these tools Wham City has connected with their community in unprecedented ways.

What is in it for listeners? Following collectives is a fantastic way to follow new artists and discover new shows. Additionally, collectives support the development of member talent and community talent through outreach. If more musicians are growing and learning, there will be more quality music to enjoy. An added benefit is that listeners know they are supporting a good cause for the community. So, for listeners who want to support local, homegrown artistry and follow up-and-coming creators, check on some of Baltimore’s collectives.

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