The following post was originally published on my Huffington Post blog here. Enjoy and please share!
The 14th annual FloydFest promises to bring some musical flares (and flair) to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains in a few short weeks.
“It’s about the various elements that go into creating heat and combustion,” festival co-founder Erika Johnson says referring to this year’s theme, “Fire on the Mountain.” “FloydFest has a very diverse audience and there are a whole lot of intangible ingredients that contribute to it being a special experience.”
Ticket prices go up July 1 for the July 22-26 event that Johnson adds is “a fun, family reunion” for many of the repeat attendees that are drawn to the event off the Blue Ridge Parkway near mile marker 171. Some packages are already sold out.
Johnson’s partner, Kris Hodges, with whom she co-founded the festival, is a musician who loves all genres. And that is evident in the multi-genre festival that sports a lineup as diverse as its audience. “If you look at the lineup as a whole, it’s for people who really love music,” Johnson adds. “True music lovers aren’t pigeonholed, they are wide open.”
Not sold yet? Following are five more reasons you won’t want to miss FloydFest 14.
1. It’s right up there with Bonnaroo. Except FloydFest has shade and much smaller crowds. FloydFest was recently named among the 10 Best Southern Events by USA Today readers beating out New Orleans Jazz Fest and South By Southwest.
2. Emmy Lou Harris and Rodney Crowell. On the heels of the Grammy-award winning Americana album, “The Traveling Kind,” these country and folk bedrocks will appear on the Dreaming Creek Mainstage for the first time. FloydFest continues its amazing run of impressive headliners with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Brandi Carlile, Trampled By Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Drive-By Truckers, Lord Huron, Shovels and Rope, Greensky Bluegrass, First Aid Kit, Keller Williams, Sam Bush Band, The Devil Makes Three, Jerry Douglas presents the Earls of Leicester, Peter Rowan’s Twang ‘An Groove and Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, among others.
3. Discover emerging talent. One of my favorite things about going to festivals like FloydFest is all the amazing talent you can discover. Among the acts too numerous to mention you won’t want to miss are Rives Theatre favorites Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds and Major and the Monbacks and Rooster Walk‘s Annabelle’s Curse and Seth Stainback and Roosterfoot.
4. Glamping is still available. What’s glamping you ask? Well, if it’s not obvious it’s camping plus glamour equals “glamping.” It’s for those who don’t want to pack their own gear, set up their own tent and prefer flush toilets. Still confused? You can find the different options here. Sorry, the yurts are sold out, but there’s always next year.
5. Location, location, location. Situated on top of a Blue Ridge Mountain, FloydFest uses the beauty of nature to accentuate the melodies that float throughout the campgrounds and the festival’s multiple stages. That mountain also keeps the size of festival around 20,000, which means no long lines and easy access to the front of the stages. There are packages that include nearby kayaking and hiking, among others, and the festival is a stone’s throw from the award-winning winery Chateau Morrisette. And on your way to or from the festival, make sure you stop by the Blue Ridge Mountain Center, which is run by the National Park Service, at mile marker 213 off the Parkway. There are free bluegrass jams in the breezeway daily and an interactive museum where you can learn all about America’s musical roots, including the fact that the original banjos were brought from Africa.