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Virgin Fest 2009: Now 100% More Free

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Despite rumors of its demise, the DC area’s biggest music festival, Virgin Fest, will be back on Sunday, August, 30th with one big difference: it’s free.

In keeping the festival’s nonexistent price tag, festival organizers have redubbed it Virgin Mobile FreeFest and, instead of having to truck out its usual spot at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Track, this year you can catch the rock-centric line-up of Blink 182, Weezer, Franz Ferdinand, Girl Talk, Jet, Mates of State, Public Enemy, Taking Back Sunday, The Bravery, The Hold Steady, The National, St. Vincent and Wale at Columbia, Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Though V-Fest will only last a single day this year (instead of its usual two), the famed Dance Tent will be back in full force as well with sets from Danny Howells, Holy Fuck, Lee Burridge and Pete Tong.

So what’s with the free-ness, you ask? It looks like Virgin CEO Richard Branson has gotten all gooey on us. Here’s a statement, directly from the FreeFest’s website at http://www.virginmobilefestival.com:

“Times are tough and money’s tight. That’s why this year’s Virgin Mobile FreeFest is on us. No really, we mean it…Since we’re picking up the cost of the tickets, we’re asking each person who attends the Virgin Mobile FreeFest to donate $5 to youth homelessness through our charitable initiative, The RE*Generation.”

But just because the festival free, that doesn’t mean you won’t need a ticket. Everyone’s favorite price gougers, Ticketmaster, are exclusively issuing the “free” tickets through their site starting tomorrow, Thursday, June 25th at 10 AM. On with the service charges:

Tickets are available only through Ticketmaster.com. Will call orders may be picked up at MPP or 9:30 Club box offices, but not tickets without a pre-existing order. Will call pickup dates are tbd. There is a 2 ticket limit per customer. A credit card is required to order tickets, even if you choose the no charge will call option. This is for identification and control purposes. All tickets are general admission. There are no reserved seats.

The ticket options are:

1. Free ticket with optional $5 per ticket delivery fee. No delivery fee on tickets picked up at will call at Merriweather or 9:30 Club box offices (dates to be determined).

2. Free ticket with $5 donation and optional $5 per ticket delivery fee. No delivery fee on tickets picked up at will call at Merriweather or 9:30 Club box offices (dates to be determined).

3. Karma Package – get a free ticket and 1 t-shirt for $30 or get 2 tickets and 2 t-shirts for $55. Prices include $5 donation and delivery fees.

In related news, an 8-ounce Budweiser at Virgin Mobile FreeFest will now cost $24. (Just kidding…we hope.)