Marlborough races add music festival

Steeplechase event is today at Roedown Farm

April 05, 2009|By Lindsay Kalter | Lindsay Kalter,

The Marlborough Hunt Races at Davidsonville's Roedown Farm will hold its annual horse racing event Sunday, marking its 35th anniversary and first-ever Roedown Music Festival.

Three local bands will provide musical entertainment in 20-minute sets between races, which event organizers hope will appeal to a more diverse audience.

"We always felt like we could expand this into a music festival, and this year we just decided to go ahead and do it," said Wendy Marxen, marketing and public relations representative for Marlborough Hunt Races. "I hope it gives people another reason to come."

The concept of integrating music into the yearly festivities was born when Marxen swapped marketing ideas with Michael Kocher, lead singer for Michael K. and the Populists - a band that has played as a single act at the steeplechase races in recent years.

"She's a really sharp person when it comes to promoting things," Kocher said. "I think a lot of people who come to Roedown don't necessarily come for the horses, they just come to hang out and tailgate. Annapolis is synonymous with music, and I think it'll just really tie the whole thing together."

The event consists of 11 races, including a relay between the local competing hunt clubs. Kocher's band, along with Sweet Leda and Pressing Strings, will play before the races and during breaks between activities from 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. A crowd of more than 5,000 people is expected to fill the farm grounds.

Christy Clagett, co-chair of the Marlborough Hunt Races, said the music festival will take place by the starting line rail of the one-mile oval track, which normally doesn't see much more action during a race.

"It's far away from the central area of the Roedown races," said Clagett, who is also the niece of the farm's owner, Hal Clagett. "People had said, 'Hey, we feel we're a little forgotten over here.' So we're giving them an identity of their own."

One of the sponsors of the event's music portion is Paul Reed Smith Guitars. Reed Smith has donated an autographed guitar for the festival's raffle.

The music festival will also be a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's walk in Annapolis, scheduled for April 19.

"We wanted to make something really good come out of it. We thought ... let's see if we can raise some money for a good cause," Kocher said.

The gates will open at 10 a.m., and the first race is scheduled to begin at noon. Admission is $5 per person, and general parking is $20.

if you go

What: Marlborough Hunt Races and Roedown Music Festival at Roedown Farm

When: Sunday; gates open at 10 a.m., music starts at 11:30 a.m., racing at noon

Where: Roedown Farm, 3856 Wayson Road, Davidsonville 21035

Admission: $5 per person, $20 for parking

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