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Grounds for Music Sunday

The outdoor festival in Wagontown will feature over nine hours of live music and activities.

Wagontown may be a quiet burg with a couple of crossroads; but the bucolic West Caln village will be rockin' and reelin' this Sunday when the Grounds for Music Outdoor Festival makes its third running.

The homegrown festival, put on annually by the Coatesville Area Arts Alliance (C3A), will feature more than nine hours of live music, a children's dance workshop, an all-ages climbing challenge, face painting, and sports demonstrations at nearby Layton Park.

"This year, there's more acts, more vendors, more food and more of a political presence, said festival founder Deborah Kates, who expects appearances by U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), State Sen. Andrew Dinniman (D., Chester, and State Rep. Tim Hennessy (R., Chester). Could this be an election year?

Kates and Greg Layton, her partner of more than 35 years, created the festival in 2006. Their plan revolved around music: a homey gathering of regional musicians performing a mix of music in a gorgeous country setting. This year's event will feature 16 bands - who all will be playing for food and gas money.

"Our goal was community-building - not having a Woodstock or a Grammys, but a fun gathering for people to get together," Kates, 56, said. "We wanted to have a good cross-section of musicians - no known names.

Bands like the Zing Kings (a high-energy cover band), the Kiwi Band (performs original songs), and the Maitrayee and Gajanan Indian Classical Ensemble will perform at this year's event. Music will range from rocking blues and folk to North Indian, Celtic and bluegrass.

One new highlight at this year's festival: world-caliber twirling, and a children's dance workshop by Russell's All-Star Twirling and Dance Studio.

"These [kids] don't get their due; they are world-caliber in their art," Layton, 61, said. "We are thrilled to have them."

Prior to staging the music festival, the duo hosted arts-related events in Coatesville in the early 80s - art openings at their farmhouse and small music performances. After establishing C3A is 2001, the couple began to dream big.

"Our theory is that art is business, and we want to bring together arts and business for commerce and economic growth," said Kates.

For Kates and Layton, that ultimate fusion of art and business will crystallize in their next goal: a three-day Wagontown music festival with camping at some future date.

"It's a beautiful place out here," Kates said.

If You Go

Where and when:

The third annual Grounds for Music festival will be held Sunday from 11 a.m. to dark at 120 Reservoir Rd. in Wagontown, just west of Coatesville, in West Caln Township.

Suggested Donation:

$12; children under 12 are free. Food and beverages will be for sale, or have your own picnic. Bring chairs. Event held rain or shine; tents on premises.

For a complete performance schedule

, visit the Coatesville Area Arts Alliance web site at



For more informatio

n, call 610-384-2535.