13 bands perform at Hagerstock fundraiser for Washington County Community Mediation Center

June 15, 2013|By HOLLY SHOK |
  • From left, members of "The Unstrung String Band," Ernie Bradley, Meredith Adams, and Toya Koch played bluegrass for the crowd Saturday afternoon. Hagerstock 2013 is a fundraiser for the Washington County Mediation Center.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

Following a dirt path off a quiet countryside road north of Hagerstown led the curious to an atypical sight Saturday, when an outdoor music festival cropped up in rolling fields normally reserved for cornstalks.

The event was Hagerstock, a fundraiser benefiting the Washington County Community Mediation Center and a music fete that also featured food, souvenirs and massage vendors.

The mediation center is a nonprofit that helps resolve disputes at no cost to Washington County residents, program manager D.J. Allen said.

The inaugural Hagerstock was held at the Breezy Acres Herbst Farm on Old Forge Road, where 13 bands were slated to perform throughout the day, said Allen, who was the event’s coordinator.

The bands, mostly local acts, contributed a wide rage of musical styles, including hard rock, heavy metal, hip-hop, bluegrass and blues.

Nineteen-year-olds Morgan Schrader and Natalie Larsen said the band they were most looking forward to seeing was May Weather.

But describing the Western Maryland musical group left both underscoring their belief that “you have to see it to believe it.”  

“They’re one of the biggest local bands around here and they’re also the most fun to watch,” said Schrader, of Smithsburg.

Larsen, of Falling Waters, W.Va., described the band’s performance style as “very energetic.”

The event began at noon, and by about an hour in, more than 100 people were present.

Thomas Ruhf of Rohrersville is used to playing the trumpet in his town’s 45-member band, which he said is one the oldest continually operated bands around.

So when Keedysville rock band Fallen Sparrow took the stage, he acknowledged the act was “a little heavier than” his taste.

However, Ruhf, 63, said he likely would enjoy the day’s performances anyway.

According to Allen, 300 tickets were sold in advance, but the event’s organizers expected about 1,000 people to turn up throughout the show, which ran from noon to 11 p.m.

Organizers had set a goal of raising between $5,000 and $10,000.

Hagerstock, which largely was promoted via social media, drew a 20-band waiting list that will have to hold over until next year, Allen said.

“We feel like this event mirrors a lot of our values at the mediation center ... it’s inclusive, we made the tickets low-cost so people would be able to come out and we really tried to get a little bit of everything Hagerstown had to offer musically,” Allen said.

The mediation center started out as a small “grass-roots” organization that now conducts about a mediation a day, Allen said. The local center now is one of the larger mediation centers in Maryland, which has 17, he said.

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