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Park Rock Rained Out on Sunday
Great Mills, MD - 9/5/2012
By Nate Atwell
Saturday, 7p.m. The Coming of Astro is playing Park Rock. Ian Spencer, posting on social networks under his stage name Oksanna Astyafyeva, is trying to gather support for the 10th annual Park Rock Fest. A two-day music festival is put on by PJMA. (Power Jam Music Alliance). The event is held the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend as a way to punctuate the summer for local youth.
Having recorded with Ron O of Dancing Alien Productions earlier this month, Ian and the rest of The Coming of Astro are looking forward to putting on a live performance and giving out demos. Like many of the local bands performing, the CD features hand-drawn artwork, and hand-written labels. Park Rock is not a venue for national acts, though it has Hosted Jimmies Chicken Shack, and some of the bands who played Park Rock went on to bigger and better festivals.
The crowd is full of music enthusiasts. People selling merchandise t-shirts, CDs and DVDs for bands. “The heart and soul of local music” a guitarist described the roadies, groupies and fans who spent a great deal of their time supporting the bands, posting information for shows online and generating a buzz. Noticeable among them, are Chelsea Trent a young fan of Park Rock and local and live music who enjoyed the show so much she hosted an after party at a private residence, giving bands another opportunity to perform. Also finding her way to Park Rock was Kim Foster of Fire Stage Magazine, a new publication launched August 1st which according to their website is “Bringing new music, reviews and interviews from the biggest names in music, and the local scene.”
The last band to perform takes the stage. A crowd is already gathered, discussing the strange stage decorations and props. The Coming of Astro reenacts a scene from Stephen King's Carrie, Ian, in drag as Oksanna, now walks off stage, and has a roadie
splash the young performer with theatrical stage blood, before rejoining his band and finishing their set. Left in awe, audience members head home, talking amongst themselves about the cacophonous and equally tumultuous show that would punctuate Park Rock’s first day. Many bands planned to reach that level of showmanship Sunday, even the Coming of Astro were scheming ways in which to outdo themselves but
none would be able to due to severe thunderstorms that would the plague the Great Mills region Sunday afternoon.
A group of young people protest the storm, hiding out in a merchandise tent, singing and playing popular songs even as the wind knocked over tents. Some braver attendees danced in the rain; others ran to find shelter. Among the latter was a lifelong county resident and Park Rock volunteer named Mariah, who would find relative calm inside of the Information tent, located directly in front of Department of Aging’s Loffler Senior Activity Center. It is here that Fred Heathers gives the news, "We are going to wait for this front to pass," Heathers says trying to speak louder than the thunder, rain smacking the tent, and howling winds, "...and pack it all up" Only a few hours into Sunday's show Park Rock is canceled. Countless performances are lost, and news soon passes that rain, at least temporally beat the metal.
A microcosm of an after party is held at a private residence in Leonardtown. It is far smaller than Saturday's after party; many bands and guest stayed inside due to unreasonable weather. The few that made it talk and joke late into Monday morning, their thoughts already heading to Park Rock 2013.
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