Loudoun’s live music scene has rebounded in a big way after the lifting of COVID-era restrictions on gatherings, and this weekend will be among the biggest yet.
In addition to the typically impressive roster of performances at the county’s wineries and breweries, two day-long festivals on Saturday and Sunday will put an even greater spotlight on Loudoun’s local talent while attracting some big names from the regional music scene. And they’ll be playing to help their fellow musicians.
On Saturday, the outdoor stage at the B-Chord Brewing Company, which recently has largely been taken over by national touring acts looking to get back on the road following a year-long layoff, will host the second annual Julesapalooza.
The first edition was held last summer in the back field of Juliana MacDowell’s Leesburg-area home, offering performers—and music fans—a rare concert opportunity during the pandemic.
MacDowell nurtured her love of singing on Loudoun’s small stages before building a musical career that regularly takes her to Nashville and Key West. While finding a welcome reception into those well-established performer communities, she sees a special transformation happening in Loudoun.
“This notion of Loudoun County as an actual destination for music is a relatively new concept,” she said. “We’ve long had Stilson Greene’s brilliant Acoustic On The Green concert series, and of course, some very talented players, like Gary Smallwood, although Gary is truly in a class of his own, but this thing that’s happening now with wineries and breweries building big stages is taking it to another level.”
And it is getting the notice of some of the region’s best-known performers. This weekend, DC blues master Bobby Thompson and two-time WAMMIE Musician of the Year winner Ron Holloway will share the stage. There’s more, she said, hoping to tap into Loudoun’s music scene.
That’s a bit of turning of the tables, she noted.
“The funny thing is that for us who live and play out here, it’s hard to crack the DC code.That is, it’s extremely difficult to get a break in DC and book a venue like the Birchmere or The Hamilton where one could play for a larger audience,” MacDowell said.
But she welcomes the camaraderie and collaborations. “My attitude is always like, ‘Come on out! Let’s jam.’”
That’s what will be happening atJulesapalooza. The lineup includes Thompson, the Chris Timbers Band, the Ron Holloway Band, The Bumper Jacksons, MacDowell’s band Jules & The Agreeables, and The Darby Brothers Band. The music starts at 2 p.m.
MacDowell’s goals for the day includemaking money for the musicians who have been hit hard by the COVID shutdown, creating an opportunity for people to enjoy music safely outdoors, and providing a music festival experience.
Tickets are $30. Learn more at bchordbrewing.com
NoVA Music Fest
On Sunday, an all-star lineup of favorite Loudoun musicians—including MacDowell—will gather at 868 Estate Winery for an afternoon of live music—all for a good cause.
The NoVA Music Fest won’t just be a great day of music from some of the area’s favorite performers, but also a fundraiser for special charity.
The lineup includes Jason Masi, Honey Larks, Dusty Rose and Jack Bond, Justin Trawick, Corey Campbell, Lauren Calve, Brennan Loveless, Michael Shepherd, McDowell with Mike Ault, and Calgary (Todd Wright, Cal Everett and Gary Smallwood).
Cancer Can Rock will use money raised during the event to invite musicians facing aggressive cancer into a studio with professionals to produce a song to serve as a tangible reminder of their recording experience.
Jim Ebert, a multi-platinum record producer, founded Cancer Can Rock following his cancer diagnosis in 2001. Over the past two decades he has worked create recordings that provide pride for those who have survived cancer and solace for those who lost loved ones.
MacDowell got connected to the cause through her work with The Darby Brothers, who had recorded with Ebert in the mid-1980s, and was invited for the first time to play a CCR event.
She’s lost family members and friends to cancer starting at a young age and carries those memories with her.
“Like so many, I dreamed ofsinging on a stage from the time I was a little girl.I wish my parents had lived long enough to see me do it.But now I have this chance to connect with others that is a life altering gift.Like Jim, it remains my fervent hope that ‘everyone’ who feels they have a story to tell through song is able to do it.Cancer Can Rock and Jim Ebert give people that opportunity,” she said.
In addition to music, the event includes a full day of food, wine, craft vendors and more.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free. This event is dog-friendly, family friendly. Pop up tents are welcome. Outside alcohol is prohibited. The rain date is June 20.
Learn more at cancercanrock.org.