- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

Those traveling near Sherwood High School in Olney today may want a pair of earplugs to ease their journey. From noon to 9:30 p.m., the school's Caruso Stadium will be booming with the sounds of rock, punk, ska, heavy metal, and pop from 16 professional and student bands.

The "Olney MusicFest 2002" is a youth rock festival "by teens, for teens," says Wendy Austin, MusicFest's publicity and promotions director. MusicFest, she says, was started three years ago by the Community Concerts of Olney and Project Change, a local youth group, to provide teens with an alternative to just "hanging out" during the summer.

Forty-eight student bands applied to perform at MusicFest 2002, but only 12 made the cut understandable given the strict methods of the selection committee.

The committee, composed of local high schoolers and a few supporting adults, reviewed and rated the demo CDs submitted, assigning a music genre (ska, punk, alternative, rock and so forth) to each. The final decisions were based on the quality rating, genre (to ensure variety) and school representation (for broadest student interest).

Nineteen schools and nine music types will be represented at today's event, which Ms. Austin hopes will attract an audience of more than 1,000.

The student bands are, in order of appearance: Natural Infection, Shady Grove, Silverfate, Bloody Diock, Third Fret, Plan Nine USA, Road to Nowhere, Konami Code, the Color Orange, Dr. Bell, the Max Levine Ensemble and the Bowlcuts.

Mike Toohey, vocalist and guitarist of Plan Nine USA, is enthusiastic about the chance to perform.

"Since the concert has had much success in the past, we're looking forward to playing at a fun, large outdoor event," he says. "It's a refreshing change of pace from the small venues that local bands frequently play. We want the audience to have a good time, dance and have fun."

Also included in the lineup are four regional groups, selected by music type, availability and cost: Ellen Cherry, Alphabet Bombers, Shakedowns and the Agenda. The Agenda, possibly the best-known of the four, will headline the event with its loud, garagelike punk sound.

"I always like playing for younger crowds," says "Hollywood Hackett," 23, the drummer for the Alphabet Bombers. "They get more into the music and what it's all about instead of showing up and getting plastered. We won't leave until we've touched the hearts of all the fans."

WHAT: "Olney MusicFest 2002"

WHERE: Caruso Stadium at Sherwood High School in Olney, alongside areas featuring food, activities and games.

WHEN: Today from noon to 9:30 p.m.

TICKETS: Tickets at the door are $12.

PHONE: 301-570-7100

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