MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Rooster Walk debuted in 2009 when some 600 people gathered in a field north of town to listen to some live music by a few local bands over Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the lives of two lost friends. Organizers say they weren’t sure at the time there would be a Rooster Walk 2.
What a difference a few years makes. On May 22-25, Rooster Walk 6 Music and Arts Festival is expected to draw more than 4,000 music lovers to hear 35 performers on three different stages at Blue Mountain Festival Grounds including headliners Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Infamous Stringdusters, singer-songwriters Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott, Anders Osborne, the Pimps of Joytime, Particle, Yarn and Stephane Wrembel & His Band.
In fact, the festival has grown so much that it made Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s list of top 10 fests, which includes FloydFest, Bonaroo and Bristol Rhythm and Roots, this summer for readers in their area that reaches from Maryland to Georgia.
“If you find huge crowds to be a drag, consider this low-key fest while it’s still a best-kept secret. As the event’s impressive line-up of roots music keeps getting better, the masses will soon be making the journey to the scenic foothills of Martinsville—a former furniture mecca making a comeback through arts and outdoor recreation,” the magazine writes. “No need to leave the festival grounds to stretch your legs. On Sunday, the fest hosts the Tuff Strutter 5K—billed as one of the toughest trail runs on the East Coast.” Learn more at http://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/go-outside/2014-blue-ridge-festival-guide/
“It’s a huge honor to be listed alongside 10 other festivals that we respect and admire so much,” said co-founder and organizer Johnny Buck. “Rooster Walk isn’t the biggest festival around, and we plan to keep it that way. It’s the music, the vibe and the people that make our event a special experience. We have no intentions of changing the recipe.”
The family-friendly Rooster Walk, which features on-site camping, food vendors, music workshops and kids’ activities, also won first place in the Virginia Living magazine’s third annual “Best of Virginia” contest as the best charity event.www.shop.VirginiaLiving.com.
Jay Franck plays mandolin and co-founded the Asheville, N.C.,-based bluegrass band Sanctum Sully. Franck, who is a 2001 Martinsville High graduate, says his band, which played the first Rooster Walk and will perform on Friday
, has grown with the festival.
“For me, a large part of Rooster Walk is that it’s a homecoming,” he explained. “I enjoy the smaller festivals because you don’t have to miss anything and you don’t have to walk forever to see music or play. It’s an easier experience.”
A portion of Rooster Walk’s proceeds goes to a scholarship fund for Martinsville High School seniors. More than $30,000 has been donated to the Penn Shank Memorial Scholarship Fund since 2009. Rooster Walk Inc., is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to music, arts and education in the Martinsville/Henry County area.
Single-day tickets, multi-day passes and camping passes are available. The festival is still looking for a few good volunteers as well. “Folks get a 4-day ticket, which includes free dinner on Thursday night, and free camping, in exchange for two volunteer shifts of six-hours each and $20 donation to our scholarship fund,” Buck said.
For more information, including ticket prices, visit www.roosterwalk.com or watch http://roosterwalk.com/previewreview-video/