‘When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair’ Will Be Focus of Montgomery History Online Presentation on Thursday, April 6

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County: For most of the 1960s and ’70s, Gaithersburg was an entertainment mecca for the greater Washington area. Shady Grove Music Fair—first under a big-top tent and then in a theater-in-the-round venue complete with a revolving stage—hosted Broadway hits and a wide variety of pop, rock and soul singers. That era will be the subject of Montgomery History online presentation at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 6.

“When the Stars Came to Gaithersburg: Remembering the Shady Grove Music Fair” will be hosted by Ralph Buglass. He is a Montgomery County native and avid history buff who speaks frequently to community groups, businesses and at national conferences.

Among the many stars who performed at the Shady Grove Music Fair were Simon and Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, the Allman Brothers, Tom Jones, Cher and the Jackson 5. Tickets often started at $4.75.

The Music Fair also hosted many graduation ceremonies of Montgomery County high schools.
The Music Fair was an arena theatre where the audience surrounded the stage. At one point, the stage actually rotated.

After only 16 years, the curtain came down in 1978. The site at the intersection of I-270 and Shady Grove Road, is now occupied by office buildings.  To join the presentation, go to Webinar Registration – Zoom.


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JP March 29, 2023 - 8:24 pm

The Allman Brothers (with Duane) were the opening act for Rare Earth.

JC April 17, 2023 - 9:59 pm

Bob Dylan appeared as a guest with Joan Baez in 1963. He was not well received by the audience. One person shouted, “Take your tambourine and go back out on the street.”


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