By Barry Scher
How does one combine protecting and restoring the Chesapeake Bay with increasing awareness of mental health and identifying resources for those on the brink? If you are Annapolis resident Ron Peremel, you create the first ever, two-day Annapolis Baygrass Music Festival. It’s planned for Oct. 1-2 at Sandy Point State Park.
The site is reminiscent of other successful events including the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival, the Polar Bear Plunge, and the Maryland Seafood Festival.
The goal of the new event is to become a sought-after annual, modern bluegrass music festival in the Annapolis region so that families and individuals can enjoy a fun, family-friendly weekend along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
Some of the well-known regional and national bluegrass bands that will appear at the weekend-long event include the Yonder Mountain String Band Cabinet including guest artist Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass, the Larry Keel Explosion, Cris Jacobs Band, Love Canon, the Jon Stickley Trio, the Dirty Grass Players, Country Current, Thomas Cassell Band, Stillhouse Junkies, and many other bluegrass bands.
The festival will donate a portion of revenues to several nonprofit organizations that support efforts to restore and protect the Bay including The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, The Oyster Recovery Partnership, and the Anne Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy.
Various mental health nonprofits will also be supported at the festival including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Backline, and the VA Way.
Founder Peremel is a Maryland native who volunteers with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Anne Arundel County Watershed Steward Academy. He teamed up with John Way, a bluegrass music festival circuit expert to launch the event. Way is an Army veteran and mental health training counselor and brings a mission of mental health awareness to the festival.
In addition to the music, there will be yard and beach games for adults and children, a Kid Zone, Beach Yoga, interactive workshops such as “Shuck Like a Pro” and live tree planting. There will also be a craft vendor village and merchandise tents.
You can eat and drink local with craft beers from Pherm Brewing and Forward Brewing, craft cocktails from Gray Wolf Spirits, craft non-alcohol cocktails from Sobar, and specialty wines from the Wine Collective. Local caterers, vendors, and food trucks will source their ingredients from farms and fisheries within the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay.
Peremel’s motto is:” Every Jam Saves the Bay.” As he often says, “All you got to do is show up, have fun, and you will help the Bay.”
The Annapolis Baygrass Music Festival is Oct. 1 & 2, rain or shine, at the East Beach of Sandy Point State Park. Festival hours are Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Parking is $3. For tickets and more information, go to: Baygrassfestival.com.