Let’s Go! Music Festival returns to Annapolis headlined by Live, 311, Chris Young

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Let's Go! Music Fest in Annapolis (Part 1)

The Let’s Go! Music Festival is returning to Annapolis, Maryland, at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds this weekend.

The third annual event features three straight days of music with Live and Collective Soul on Friday; 311, Cold War Kids and Lit on Saturday; and country-music stars Chris Young and Kip Moore on Sunday.

“Born and raised in Annapolis, college and life takes you away for a little bit, but Annapolis always has that funny way of calling back into your heart — and you want to go back home,” the festival’s co-founder Chris Hartman told WTOP. “This has always been home. I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I love the people here. Liz and I love the city so much, so we wanted to give something back. … We’re very humbled and honored to be here.”

Hartman cofounded the festival with his sister, Liz Rawlings, to escape the pandemic in 2021.

“Coming out of COVID, we were really missing live music,” Rawlings told WTOP. “It was great seeing music on Facebook and streaming; however, we were just missing getting out there and seeing live music, so we said, ‘Why not start a festival?’ … We love music and go to San Diego for festivals and go to concerts all over the area, so we thought, ‘Why not Annapolis? Let’s do something in our hometown,’ so we kicked it off three years ago.”

The first year drew 2,500 people to see famous acts such as Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth and Gin Blossoms.

“I almost fell out of my chair the first year because we were talking about doing just some regional bands, then all of a sudden Sugar Ray is coming and I was like, ‘Holy smokes!'” Hartman said. “[Mark McGrath] is an awesome individual. If you ever get the chance to meet him or hang out with him, he is by far one of my favorite guys to hang out with. Liz and I love him to death, high energy, I can’t say enough good words about Mark McGrath.”

The second year drew nearly 7,000 people to see Lynyrd Skynyrd, Goo Goo Dolls and Better Than Ezra.

“We brought in some bigger names and came out swinging the second year,” Hartman said. “Kevin Griffin, the lead singer of Better Than Ezra, he’s another good guy, and he pulled Liz and I aside and just pointed at us and said, ‘Don’t stop. You two keep going. You’ve got a good thing going. Most people in the festival world will fall out by the third year, but you guys have a really good thing going here. Keep it going. We want to come back.'”

This year is expected to draw nearly 10,000 people. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.

Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket and lawn chairs, but strollers and umbrellas are prohibited. You can also purchase food from local food trucks and alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks from concession stands. You can even grab a margarita as a mariachi band serenades you on the way in.

“Let’s go,” Hartman said. “If you’re walking up and you see a margarita bar and a mariachi band at a festival, you know it’s going to be a good time.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Let's Go! Music Fest in Annapolis (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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