Best Fests: Mountain Music Festivals
Anders Osborne at FloydFest 2012. Photo: Roger Gupta
Go old school at these mountain music festivals:
The Festy Experience
Basics: Tucked away in Nelson County at the base of Wintergreen Resort, this intimate fest sits on the scenic grounds of Devils Backbone Brewery. Through the long weekend, an eclectic mix of music combines with mountain sports, workshops, and local beer and food—all among breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding Blue Ridge.
Bands: Expansive string band heroes the Infamous Stringdusters curate the line-up of this annual festival. Expect a carefully crafted roster that includes some fellow bluegrass border crashers, as well as established greats and artists on the verge in the worlds of jam, Americana, and roots rock.
Set Break Escape: This is a music fest with built-in adventure. Run the Blue Ridge Burn 10K/5K trail race on Saturday morning (full disclosure: BRO organizes the race) or take on the tough singletrack of the Devils Backbone Challenge mountain bike race on Sunday.
Mad Tea Party Jam
Billed as an intimate rager where you can enjoy “three days of music, camping, and silliness,” this fest features an impressive line-up of regional bands including the Werks, Zoogma, Larry Keel, Cabinet, and Kung Fu.
Orkney Springs, Va.
If you’re looking for some family fun and a chance to soak in the scenery of the Shenandoah Valley, bring the kids to Shrine Mont for this event that will feature tasty BBQ and bluegrass from the Naked Mountain Boys and Drymill Road.
Wills Mountain Festival
A remote stretch of the Appalachians on the Western Maryland/Pennsylvania border is the site of this three-day roots music party that includes tunes from Yarn, Dangermuffin, the Black Lilies, and many more.
A sonic orgy of jam and electronica acts goes down at the remote Camp Hidden Meadows in the Monongahela National Forest. Bands this year include Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident, EOTO, Conspirator, Tea Leaf Green, Keller Williams, and Toubab Krewe.
Watermelon Park Festival
This best-kept-secret Americana festival takes place on a sweet riverside spot in the Shenandoah Valley.