Music Fest Forces Maryland Summer Dates Switch

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Pimlico infield | Christina Bossinakis

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A two-day electronic dance music festival at Pimlico Race Course has forced a dates reshuffling of the first regularly scheduled summer race meet at the Baltimore track in 17 years.

The Aug. 6 and 7 Moonrise, which is billed as one of the premier “rave” gatherings on the East Coast, drew about 30,000 people to the Pimlico infield each summer between 2014 and 2019 with no conflicts to the horse racing schedule. That's because the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) at that time chose to race during the summer months at Pimlico's sister track, Laurel Park.

According to an approval unanimously voted in by the Maryland Racing Commission (MRC) at its monthly meeting Tuesday, the nine race dates spanning Aug. 5-21 that were previously assigned to Pimlico will now revert to Laurel. After the seven-date Maryland State Fair meet at Timonium Aug. 26-Sept. 5, the circuit will move to Pimlico to run nine dates between Sept. 9 and 25. Then Laurel starts up again to race through the fall and winter.

In 2020, the Moonrise event was canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions. In 2021, Pimlico had to host racing from April through August because of the emergency closure at Laurel to install a new main track, but there was no conflict with the concert because it still couldn't be held under pandemic precautions.

In October of 2021, when the MRC approved a schedule of '22 race dates that included a regularly scheduled August meet at Pimlico for the first time since 2005, the status of the concert had not been known.

One of the intentions of moving the mid-summer meet from Laurel to Pimlico this year was to give Laurel's turf course a break during the hottest time of the year in Maryland.

Instead, Laurel will be running from June through August without a rest while going up against neighboring Colonial Downs in Virginia, which hosts a grass-centric summer meet spanning July 11-Sept. 7.

Moonrise will feature 50+ artists over two days, highlighted by Zedd, Rezz, Adventure Club, Excision, Chris Lake, Zeds Dead, FISHER, Moore Kismet, and Dom Dolla. Two-day general admission tickets start at $130.

Racing enthusiasts scanning the list of performers will note that one solo artist goes by the stage name “Trivecta.”

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