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Russell Anderson and Ed Ruff

Featured Article

Where's the Music?

What happens when two music-loving advertising executives can’t find where their favorite local bands are playing on a particular weekend night? How about when they grow increasingly wary of having to visit the several hundred websites of Loudoun’s music venues to see who is playing where? “That’s pretty much what drove this idea,” recounts Russell Anderson, CEO and President of ACS Creative, a prominent, Northern Virginia-based advertising and marketing agency. “Often, one of my favorite bands would be playing next door to where we were having dinner and I had no clue.”

After missing one too many of those shows, Russell and Ed Ruff, Director of Creative Development for ACS Creative, decided it was time to act, and their aptly named website “Where’s the Music” venture was launched. (See

Russell, an American University Music Major who has long lost count of how many guitars he owns, and Ruff, also an accomplished guitar player who has been successfully creating branding media at ACS since 1998, both proudly confess to being total local music junkies. “The big stadium concerts are great, but they are expensive, and the logistics are always a hassle,” says Ed. “We are so lucky to have a vibrant, very talented music community right here in Northern Virginia. When you combine the wide range of music genres performing here with the serene settings of Loudoun’s wineries, breweries and other long-established Loudoun music venues, you have a rich offering of quality live music that few counties anywhere can boast. We love supporting the artists and the venues, but we are well on our way to being the live musicresource for fellow melomaniacs like Russell and myself.”

In just a few short months, “Where’s the Music?” already has become that local entertainment resource area music lovers have been waiting for. Catering to over 1,300 artists, 270 venues, 2000 Facebook/Instgram followers, and more than 1000 locals who have signed up for their email blasts, this music event “clearinghouse” is off to a running start. “Where’s the Music?” promotes an average of 250 events per week and delivers between 80,000 and 90,000 digital “touches” monthly to those in search of their weekly live music fix.

Promoters, artists and venues can list free, non-ticketed concerts, recitals and other music events at no cost, while ticketed-event organizers can choose from a menu of advertising options that include intensive region-specific and targeted social media broadcasts, highly personalized direct email campaigns or a combination of both for a fee.

Loudoun’s talent pool runs deep. Several national artists live here or are from here, like jazz singer Tracey Hamlin, who just performed at the Hollywood Bowl with Peabo Bryson; Les Thompson, founding Member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; former Leesburg resident James McMurtry; 4 out of 5 Doctors Alumni Cal Everett; Emmet Swimming’s Todd Watts; Leesburg’s own My Kid Brother; Lovettsville’s Short Hill Mountain Boys; the globetrotting Randy Thompson Band; Purcellville’s Emma Rowley; local Singer/Songwriters like Todd and Ryan Wright;  Juliana MacDowell and Jason Masi, as well as young, emerging artists like Sela Campbell and Carliegh Jane. Celebrity DJ Cerphe Colwell of Music Planet Radio, a major supporter of Loudoun’s live music scene, also calls Leesburg home.

While future growth and expansion planning for “Where’s the Music?” is still “down the road a bit,” Anderson and Ruff are enjoying a smooth ride so far. Russell Anderson sums it up best- “This project combines our passions – music and advertising. And the best part is…. we don’t miss the local shows we want to see anymore.”

  • Russell Anderson and Ed Ruff