Ratscape is a three-day showcase of local music that takes place near Artscape in Baltimore. The event provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists to perform for a huge cross-over audience.
The same folks working to establish a music incubator also produce Ratscape. Our goal is to represent and be inclusive of the city’s many underground musical styles. Ratscape is a celebration of diversity within the arts community; by inviting a broad swath of musical talent and guest programmers, people who may not normally cross paths party together and exchange sweaty high-fives.
Ratscape was born in 2012 as a send-off party for Kenny Sanders, one of the musicians involved with the Hour Haus. The familial, close-knit atmosphere of the arts space leant itself to collaboration so performing together seemed like a natural next-step for the artists who called Hour Haus their home. Joshua and Mike organized the event on a less-than-shoe-string budget, putting the word out amongst friends in the music community and receiving interest from artists across the city.
Ratscape was so well-received by bands and attendees alike that Joshua and Mike made it an annual event. The community clearly recognized the value of providing a stage for lesser-known artists when an audience was assembling in the neighborhood for Artscape. The founders of Ratscape also felt a deep commitment to the DIY, grassroots event in Station North, where developers were moving in and rents were increasing.
The festival remained accessible by keeping ticket prices low. In 2014, 60 bands performed over three days, costing the audience just $5 per day. Afterwards, a small profit was split equally between the bands, coordinators, and security. In 2015, almost 90 bands performed at Ratscape with no increase to the ticket price, and still there was a small profit to disburse among artists and staff.
- Ratscape 2012 @ Hour Haus
- Ratscape 2013 @ Hour Haus
- Ratscape 2014 @ Hour Haus
- Ratscape 2015 @ The Ottobar
- Ratscape 2018 @ Ynot Lot
Attendance grew over the years, from 300 tickets sold in 2012 to more than 500 sold in 2015. 2018 was the first free, public event, with an estimated 900 people in attendance.
This festival is the work of a generous and deeply dedicated arts community. Over the years, musicians have donated their time and talent. We also thank the illustrators, photographers and volunteers who have donated their skill and time. As the festival grows, we continue to be inspired by and grateful to the people who support Ratscape and its mission.