Photo courtesy of Urban Pirates’ Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Urban Pirates’ Facebook.

Coronavirus forced WTMD to cancel its 2020 First Thursday Festival series, but the pandemic won’t stop the radio station from giving Baltimoreans the live music they’re craving right now, said Sam Sessa, the radio station’s Baltimore music and community outreach manager.

WTMD has partnered with Stages Music Arts and Urban Pirates to bring Baltimoreans the free Pirate Radio Concert from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Rufus Roundtree and Da Bmore Brass Factory will set sail aboard Urban Pirates’ Fearless flagship in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to perform a mixture of funk, jazz and New Orleans-style brass music for waterfront audiences.

After WTMD canceled this year’s First Thursday music season, Sessa said they began brainstorming ways to still put on a live concert safely.

First, the station thought about a concert on the rooftops of Federal Hill and Canton, Beatles-style, but the endeavor would have been tricky to pull off, Sessa said.

They eventually came up with the idea to hold a concert on the water, where they could control the number people on the boat and keep the ship moving to avoid attracting large crowds on shore.

The challenges of the pandemic have forced event organizers to think up new ways of doing things, Sessa said.

“There have been so many doors shut on us from COVID-19,” he said. “To have even the tiniest victory with something like this is so sweet. It’s forced us to think outside of the box and be more creative.”

Sessa said Rufus Roundtree and Da Bmore Brass Factory were chosen to perform because of their energetic live show.

“Every time I’ve seen them live, they’ve blown me away,” he said. “They might not be a household name, but anybody who hears their music can relate to it instantly.”

The concert will begin at 6 p.m. with the pirate ship stationed offshore from Canton Waterfront Park, head west to the Broadway pier in Fells Point, the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill Park, and wrap up near the Tide Point pier by Under Armour in Locust Point.

The ship will float near each location for about 15 minutes.

The schedule for the concert is:

  • 6 p.m. near Canton Waterfront Park
  • 6:30 p.m. near Fells Point
  • 7 p.m. near the Inner Harbor
  • 7:20 p.m. near Federal Hill Park
  • 7:40 p.m. near Locust Point

Sessa said WTMD and its partners are “thrilled” to be putting on the concert, allowing people to enjoy an afternoon of music while safely distancing.

“Live music brings us together like nothing else … Even while we’re apart, music can bring us together.”

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at