Virgin Festival, also known as Virgin Mobile FreeFest, is actually a spin-off from the V Festival held in the UK until 2017. Promoted by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, the event started in 2006. In 2007 it took place in Vancouver and Toronto, in Canada, and also in Baltimore, MD, in the US.
The Baltimore edition was held in August, 5-6 at the Pimlico Race Track and featured an insane lineup. Headlining the two-day festival were The Police and the Smashing Pumpkins. Also playing were the Beastie Boys,Wu-Tang Clan, 311, Interpol,TV on the Radio, Amy Winehouse, Incubus, Modest Mouse,Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, LCD Soundsystem,Yeah Yeah Yeahs, supergroup Velvet Revolver and many more.
The Police broke up in 1986 but in early 2007, reports surfaced the trio would reunite for a tour to mark The Police's 30th anniversary. This turned out to be confirmed and the band began touring in late May 2007 with a couple of shows in Vancouver. Before playing an European leg of the tour, The Police stopped by Baltimore to headline the Virgin Festival.
The Smashing Pumpkins were promoting Zeitgest in 2007 however the band wasn’t performing with the full original lineup. Only Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin were there, but no signs of James Iha and D’arcy Wretzky. The band offered an uninspired performance failing to end the festival in grande.
In 2007, the Beastie Boys edited a new album called The Mix-Up. The band first played some of the new instrumental tracks at the festival. Weeks after, the Beastie Boys announced a short tour, mainly at festivals, to promote the record. In Baltimore, the band commanded the stage with Mix Master Mike throwing down the beats and Ad Rock stirring up the crowd.
Amy Winehouse was promoting the Back To Black album at the time. The record containing songs such as “Rehab”, “You Know I’m No Good” or “Love Is A Loosing Game” reached nº1 worldwide and Amy was enjoying huge success in 2007. The English singer and songwriter performed at Glastonbury and Lollapalooza that summer as well.
Virgin Festival attracted about 80,000 lucky people offering them a highly successful two-day event. Baltimore saw local and national organizations and businesses work together for another year, in 2008.