WASHINGTON — Retro rock will rule again this weekend for the annual M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
Now in its ninth year, M3 brings not only the ’80s glam and metal bands it’s known for, but a first time appearance by Canadian rockers Loverboy and a third day of southern rock to round out the event.
The fun kicks off Friday afternoon with Station, or, if you’re lucky enough to be a VIP ticket holder, a special acoustic performance by Lita Ford. Loverboy is just one of the bands to warm up the crowd for local Maryland favorites KIX, who will headline what is known as the M3 Kix Off Party on Friday.
Saturday brings a full day of metal mayhem featuring classic acts such as Autograph, Warrant, Vixen, Dokken, Cinderella’s Tom Keifer and RATT. The return of RATT to M3 brings back their classic lineup of Stephen Pearcy, Juan Croucier and Warren DeMartini, while still embroiled in a prolonged legal battle with their former drummer Bobby Blotzer over the use of the RATT name.
If southern rock is more your thing, Molly Hatchet, Charlie Daniels and Lynyrd Skynyrd are just three of the seven bands set to take the stage Sunday for a show billed as the M3 Southern Rock Classic.
TV and radio personality Eddie Truck returns to M3 after a year off to tie everything together as the festival host. One schedule change of note: Japanese heavy metal band Loudness had to cancel their appearance at M3 after being denied entry into the U.S. after visa issues.
Aside from the music, the M3 festival will include the many changes at Merriweather for the 2017 concert season. The addition of new food offerings and a Tiki Bar will help keep bellies full, while cashless and touchless payment methods are now available to help speed up purchases — and hopefully reduce lines — at any of the main concession locations around the venue.
Meanwhile, a new, permanent second stage, The Chrysalis, has been added in the Symphony Woods area, meant to be used not only during music festivals, but also community and cultural arts events.
The most important change is the parking situation. In the past, concertgoers were funneled into free lots around the venue by parking attendants, basing your parking spot on when you arrived to the show. Now, with all the development surrounding Merriweather, there is new onsite parking with additional nearby lots as well. This brings ticketed parking, but be sure to read the fine print.
Parking remains free but now all ticket holders need to pre-select parking after purchasing tickets to a show. The hope is for this to improve traffic flow into the venue by allowing vehicles to head straight to the designated parking area on their ticket. A parking ticket is needed to enter the lots but same day ticket buyers will have the option to follow signs for same-day ticket parking.
Click here for more info on the parking update.
Click here for tickets, which are still available with single-day, two-day and three-day passes.