By: Lillian McBee, Contributing Writer
The Knollwood Association, a group which connects community members of the Knollwood and Donnybrook neighborhoods of Towson, will host the “Walk Among the Music” festival on May 22 featuring local musicians.
According to Association President, David Riley, last year’s festival brought the community together and extended the unity to local residents and artists. He explains the festival as a relief from everything going on in the world.
The “Walk Among the Music” festival was first held last June. To prevent people from congregating in one area due to COVID-19 concerns, the event was set up with five different residents hosting musicians in their lawns. Riley explained that attendants were encouraged to walk through the neighborhood. The association then held another festival in August, this time with food trucks.
“I think last summer, we were a lifesaver for a lot of people,” Riley said. “[They] were just getting claustrophobic, you know, and we gave a sense of normalcy to everybody and, you know, what it caught on now. It’s now we hope to make it a permanent thing, and then grow it.”
The Knollwood Association originally planned for an indoor and ticketed festival in October, but were unable to hold it indoors due to COVID-19. However, Riley explained that the Association then decided to host another outdoor event that focused on supporting breast cancer survivors.
According to Riley, as a result of the positive response to the event, from now on the association’s October concert will be a “ … celebration of breast cancer survivors,” with residents being encouraged to donate to the breast cancer centers at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
Carly Troyer, a folk-pop artist and Towson resident who performed at the festival last year, says she enjoyed the event and the experience she gained from it.
“I was able to play for a bunch of different people that I had met before, rather than playing in my own neighborhood,” Troyer said. “So that was really amazing.”
According to John Barber, an association board member, the festival extends to more than just the Knollwood community. He believes that the surrounding communities who attend the music festivals and the artists, especially at the high school level, have the opportunity to connect with one another.
“I think it’s seeing parents filming their kids playing or friends of people playing filming them on their phones, it’s just getting them out and just exposing them,” Barber said. “That’s kind of what the main thing is, I feel, that kind of comes from these music festivals.”
According to Riley, Knollwood Association is proud of their ability to bring members together through the festival.
“We like to pride ourselves on these events being non-political, it’s a way just for everybody just to relax and, and get along and enjoy music together for a couple of hours,” Riley said. “And then if we can do that, then we start thinking ‘you know, what, if we can do this for a couple of hours, you know what, I bet you we can work together on some bigger things.’’’
The upcoming festival is seeing a return from back artists from last year such as John Tyler while showcasing new artists like the Jordan Gillis Band, as Riley explained.