Beyond Our Boroughs

Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2010

by Josh Kurp   |   Sep 16, 2010

Beyond Our Boroughs


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New York City is an amazing place to live (eight million residents can’t be wrong), but sometimes you’ve just got to leave the five boroughs and explore the rest of New York—even the dreaded “upstate”—and its surrounding areas. “Beyond Our Boroughs” is a series of escapes from NYC that are easy to get to via bus, car or train. Or plane, if you’re rich.

The Event
Even Stephen Colbert would admit the Virgin Mobile FreeFest is pretty awesome. In July, Richard Branson, the chairman of Virgin Group, announced that tickets for the former-Virgin Festival on Sept. 25 would be free to all Virgin Mobile members and anyone who had been to previous festivals (it’s been around since 2006). All Branson & Co. ask in return is that you either volunteer before the show or donate to The RE*Generation when you come to FreeFest.

This year’s lineup is:

LCD Soundsystem
Joan Jett and the Black Hearts
Thievery Corporation
Matt & Kim
Jimmy Eat World
The Temper Trap
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes

And performing in the Dance Forest:
Maximum Balloon
Sleigh Bells
Wolfgang Gartner
Neon Indian

Previous Headliners
2006: The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Killers, the New Pornographers
2007: The Police, LCD Soundsystem, Modest Mouse, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
2008: Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Wilco, Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Iggy and the Stooges
2009: Weezer, Blink-182, the Hold Steady, Public Enemy, the National

The Location
Merriweather Post Pavilion (more than just an Animal Collective album!), an outdoor venue in Columbia, Maryland. Because the festival is one day only and just four hours away from NYC, you could drive there in the morning and come back in the evening. Encore is getting to the show via Zipcar, but you can also take Bolt Bus to their Baltimore stop and then a cab to the actual venue. Amtrak too.

The Tickets
Although the free tickets are gone (unless you do some volunteer work in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. area), you can purchase pavilion seats for $125 tomorrow, Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. here. @VirginFestival is also giving away a lot of free tickets.

The Where-to-Stay
On the festival’s website, click “Info” and go to “Staying There.”

The Reason(s) You Should Go

-LCD Soundsystem isn’t playing in NYC, so here’s your chance to see them
-M.I.A. has to have improved since her Hard NYC show, right?
-If Osheaga was any indication, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes put on one heck of a show.
-Maybe Jimmy Eat World will play their cover of “Game of Pricks“?
-It’s in Maryland, which means crab cakes will be served…
-Everyone from Bob Dylan to David Bowie to the Kinks have played Merriweather
-Did we mention the Animal Collective thing too?

It’s also essentially the last outdoor East Coast festival of 2010. Pretend it’s still the summer.