By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 9, 2018) Organizer Brad Hoffman said he was pleased with attendance during the inaugural Soundwave Music and Arts Festival, held over three days last weekend at the Mid Atlantic Youth and Sportsplex (MAYS) in Pittsville.
He estimated the festival of rock, blues and jazz acts including G-13, Blue Miracle, Joey Harkum and Blind Wind drew close to 1,000 people.
Bands, altogether numbering nearly two-dozen, set up outside on a large stage and indoors in an air-conditioned venue that also featured arts and crafts vendors. There were food and drink vendors, family friendly games, and several bounce houses for children set up throughout the sprawling 58-acre property.
“Attendance, for a first-time event like this, I think is solid,” Hoffman said. “Usually in your first year you market and push real hard, and you do the best you can to expose an event … We’re putting a lot of eyeballs on the festival this weekend and people are definitely talking about it.”
Hoffman, CEO of Live Wire Media and a producer of several notable area events, said Soundwave was particularly close to his heart.
“Twenty-five years ago, I created an event called Localpalooza that was a music event with local bands that really launched me into my production, marketing and media career,” he said. “Twenty-five years later, after doing Ocean City Jeep Week, working on the DEW Tour, the Susan G. Komen Race For Cure … now I’m feeling like I want to do something for the community that would bring all the musicians and the artists together out here in a beautiful complex. And I also wanted to build something a little different. I have an 11-year-old daughter and this is the exact kind of event I would like to bring her to.
“This place is amazing,” Hoffman continued. “John Barrett, Jay Phillips and Mitch Parker who own it have been great hosts, and they really want to see the community come together over here.”
Opened last year, MAYS has already hosted events like the HoganLax tournament in June and later this month will be home to Jeep Jam, an annual offshoot of Ocean City Jeep Week formerly held at Berlin Falls park.
Hoffman said Soundwave had already been “locked in” for a second year in 2019.
“We’ll probably do a spring version that can kind of tie into the whole Salisbury University crowd and then look at bringing a little more country music, because I think the country vibe feels good out here,” he said. “You only have one chance at a first impression and I think the first impression on this event in this complex has been amazing.”
Barrett, a Berlin resident, also said he was pleased with the inaugural festival.
“Brad and his crew have done a great job putting all the musicians together,” he said. “We’ve had some beautiful weather and we’ve had some sponsors come out, and they’re real excited about the growth and the future of it. We’re just looking forward to that and we’re absolutely going to do it again.”
Both Hoffman and Barrett said they were looking forward to bringing part of Ocean City Jeep Week, Aug. 23-26, to the MAYS complex.
Construction on an obstacle course for Jeep Jam was well underway as of last weekend and Hoffman said a “Jeep Jam Jamboree” concert was planned for the event.
“The people in Berlin were great to work with, but they’re moving in another direction [at Berlin Falls] and it was very important that we found a new location for Jeep Jam,” Hoffman said. “People like to drive down the beach and come to the Ocean City Convention Center to see the vendors and purchase products and services, but …half the reason people came to Ocean City Jeep Week was to then come out to four-wheel.
“Right behind us now you can see they’re building an amazing obstacle course. Chris Cropper and his team over there at C.C. Customers are busy every day,” he continued. “They’re moving a lot of heavy rocks, telephone poles and big mounds of tires – exactly what these jeep people want to see. So, it’s going to be an all-new and fresh Jeep Jam course.”
Although based in Wicomico County, Barrett believes the new complex could equally benefit those in neighboring Worcester County.
“[Hoffman] has these great events like Jeep Week that have been going on for years in Ocean City and Worcester, and we’re just going to pull a little of that over to Wicomico,” he said. “I think the two counties should work together and just become a great mix of everything.”
During the HoganLax tournament, for example, Barrett said 300 teams participated and filled up hotels, shops and restaurants in both counties.
“It’s just a great mix,” he said. “It’s a great way to get people to Delmarva.”