By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Baltimore is known as a quirky city with a lot of creative people.

Mike Schuh reports, one idea has succeeded well beyond expectations.

Baltimore really likes music, especially when it’s free.

A decade ago WTMD started the First Thursdays Concert Series downtown in Mount Vernon.

“Well this is it, this is where we first started First Thursday, the stage was below the monument,” said WTMD’s Scott Mullins. “It was a nice low key after work event.”

Tom Creegan’s nearby brewpub, Brewers Art, supplied the beer.

“This is our brew house where we brew each batch of beer here at Brewers Art,” Creegan said.

Those first shows didn’t put much of a dent in production. They practically rolled kegs down the street, but then, successfully, the crowd began to overflow and it outgrew Mt. Vernon.

“Actually we filled it up pretty quickly,” Mullins said.

They moved to Canton Waterfront Park, and the little free shows drew 15,000 fans.

Creegan translates that success into measurements of beer.

“We used to bring a few kegs down in my pickup truck and now this year, we have a tractor trailer full of beer.”

For this year, another expansion.

“This year we’re essentially doubling the size of it, two stages, six bands still for free,” Mullins said.

Free, local, and easy. Some even show up by boat.

Bowtie Bob says he’s a bit older than most who pack the park. One of the secrets he says is that the up-and-coming bands play their hearts out.

“They’re having their fun, we’re having our fun and everybody is mingling together. They’re enjoying what they’re doing.”

The series starts this Thursday and continues for the next six first Thursdays of every month at the Waterfront Park in Canton. Music starts at 5:30 p.m. and it’s free.

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