By Melissa DeBrigida-Parent
After more than a year of COVID lockdowns, empty stages, deserted venues and the entertainment
business crippled severely, there came a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel. News that
concert venues and festivals started posting new show dates spread through social media like wildfire.
I was hesitant at first as there had been a few false starts that just added to the already sad state of
affairs. But then came the email… M3 Rock Festival was a go, FINALLY after three postponements. I
had already decided that I wanted M3 to be my first event covered post COVID as it was one of my
favorite festivals to date.
People young and old come from all over the country and beyond to relive the heyday, glam and excess
of the “80’s sunset strip music scene”. The smell of Aquanet Extra Super Hold bringing back my own
memories of the days of high hair and even higher cut skirts. More so than in years past, I saw parents
bringing their kids who’ve now come to appreciate the genre as it seems to be drawing a new
With the festival being the first live event at Merriweather since the shutdown, the venue also
debuted the new SkyLawn area. It allows concertgoers to watch from above the pavilion. Anyone
with a law ticket can access it. It’s located out behind the pavilion near the lawn, but elevated 60
feet in the air with an amazing view of the stage. Also, equipped with retractable roofs and their own
bars, first come- first serve availability of course. Unfortunately the festival was rescheduled for 4th of
July weekend which put a damper on travel plans for artists and fans alike. Some artists and many
disappointed fans couldn’t make the dates work due to previous engagements and/or holiday plans.
In any case I was determined to get there come hell or high water, and that I did. Between work and
holiday weekend traffic I missed Friday night’s performances and fireworks BUT we got there!
As Saturday’s festivities kicked off at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. The weather
was hot, the sun was shining, the music was loud and the people were filing in, seemingly more than
ready to get the live music fix they so desperately needed and missed. Attendance numbers were not
the numbers of years past but that was to be expected between timing and many people still not being
comfortable with traveling and/or being in crowds… masked, vaccinated or otherwise. Also, I have to
say too, the event staff and pavilion staff worked their butts off to make sure that everyone was okay
and that the event went off as planned. A huge thank you to my ladies at the front entrance, you rock!
For myself and many whom I talked to, besides the music, being at M3 was about seeing old friends,
meeting new ones, some that you would only see at this festival each year and finally being able to
interact, laugh and dance with people you have so much in common with. Without glass barriers,
without people lathering in sanitizer, without mask shaming and most of all without fear. Just a
common love of all things 80’s, especially that down n’ dirty rock n’ roll music that has stood the test of
time. I’m normally a woman of few words which is why I let my photographs speak for themselves.
Every band that stepped foot on that stage rocked it, no question. My personal favorites over the two
days (in no order)… Bullet Boys, Steelheart, Little Caesar, Pretty Boy Floyd, Faster Pussycat and
Warrant. Another highlight was seeing a few bands that I had never seen live before and seeing the
always entertaining Master of Ceremonies, Eddie Trunk with his VH1’s “That Metal Show” pals Don
Jamieson and Jim Florentine. Definitely looking forward to next year as there’s already talk of a few big
surprises in store for us. Any guesses? I’ll be keeping track of answers on my Music Matters Media
Productions Facebook page so shoot me a message with any guess or requests!
Line Up (Saturday) Line Up (Sunday)
Enuff Z Nuff Little Caesar
Hurricane Pretty Boy Floyd
Bullet Boys Faster Pussycat
Steelheart Riley’s L.A. Guns
Steven Adler Lita Ford
Winger Great White
Queensryche Night Ranger
For more information on M3 Rock Festival 2021, Merriweather Post Pavillion, my page or any of the bands go to:
All photos by Melissa DeBrigida-Parent