On Saturday, September 16, The Mainstay – Kent County’s non-profit live music performance/ event venue – invites its friends and neighbors to this year’s outdoor Gala Celebration in its backyard amphitheater space. The 2023 festive event has been nicknamed the “Founders’ Celebration” and serves as an opportunity to look back at the impressive history of this well-loved, volunteer supported organization.
In 1997 Tom McHugh, a retired college professor returned to the Eastern Shore with a vision and opened The Mainstay in a vacant showroom in the center of the small harbor town of Rock Hall. His efforts were ambitious, but determined — schedule a series of music shows featuring some of the country’s most impressive musical performers, and present them on a simple stage every week, year after year. The Mainstay has remained faithful to this legacy’s vision and continues to present a year-round weekly calendar of diverse concert events that still brings cheering audiences to their feet week after week (to date, the Mainstay has presented well over a thousand of these concerts).
This year’s Gala pays special homage to those people who early-on joined McHugh’s efforts as faithful volunteers and supporters. Some of these people still show up on a regular basis. Executive Director Matt Mielnick comments “What’s truly special is that some of those “founders” who are no longer with us are still celebrated at almost every show when the good old days are discussed, like they’re still in the room.” As another patron phrased it, “It’s not immortality, but it sure is a good down payment.”
The party starts at 6 p.m. There will be an open bar, a casual hors d’oeuvres buffet prepared by the Happy Chicken, live music with Buffalo Rose (one of the most popular groups to perform here in 2022), a silent auction, and perhaps a surprise or two.
Tickets are $100 and can be purchased on the Mainstay website (mainstayrockhall.org) by clicking on the “Shows” tab (located at the top of the Home page) and scrolling down to July 9, or by calling The Mainstay at (410) 639-9133.