Fort Howard Park may never rival the New York farm that hosted the now-iconic Woodstock music festival in 1969, but local music lovers think the historic park does just fine as the host of Edgestock.
Hundreds of fans of a variety of music genres filled the park Saturday for the 7th annual festival that fills the waterfront park with music while raising money for the Edgemere-Sparrows Point Recreation Council.
Somehow, the backdrop of cannons and historic military batteries just doesn't seem to clash with the picnickers, kids tossing footballs and festival visitors strolling the grounds in their tie-dyed T-shirts.
On Saturday afternoon, an army of rec council volunteers, identifiable in their bright yellow T-shirts roamed the park and performed any number of tasks, such as selling beverage tickets and T-shirts, making pit beef sandwiches, emptying trash and helping greet bands as they arrived.
Four main acts—the Strait Shooters, Outbreak, the Kelly Bell Band and Kashmir—and two acoustical performers graced the stage from 1 to 10 p.m.
"We've got a good starter crowd," event chairman Dave Darr said at about 3 p.m. "People who can't spend the entire day will come in later, but we've got a nice crowd now."
Darr was particularly excited about booking Kashmir, a New York-based Led Zeppelin cover band.
Many visitors were too.
William and Denise Pace, a couple from Aberdeen, said the appearance of Kashmir was the main reason they decided to attend.
They arrived in time to catch the performance of the Kelly Bell Band, a Baltimore blues and funk band.
The festival is a labor of love for Darr and a committee that works hard to stage the annual event.
The park looked like a bee hive of activity on Friday, with volunteers toiling most of the day to set up for the event, according to volunteer Kathy Darr.
The Grange Elementary School teacher—and Dave Darr's daughter—said she and her fellow volunteers worked most of the day and well into the night to make sure Fort Howard would be ready when the gates opened at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"It wasn't horribly hot, and it drizzled on and off, but we didn't let that stop us," she said. "And at about 9 (p.m.), it poured for about 10 minutes and we had to stop, but then we came back out and kept working."
Dave Darr has been a rec council volunteer for many years. He smiles when he talks about the event and the efforts of many volunteers who, over the course of the year, provide a variety of recreation programs and activities for the children and adults of the community.
"We're just a volunteer organization and we have to do for ourselves," he said. "Edgestock was an idea that we thought would really be embraced by the community so we decided to try it.
"It's a lot of work, but the community loves it — and that's the main reason we do it."