The History of The Festy and This Year’s Lineup

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The idea of The Festy Experience first came together in 2009, but its roots in Virginia can be traced back decades through its creator Michael Allenby. Micheal grew up in Virginia and attended high school in Williamsburg before relocating to Charlottesville, VA and establishing his own small business within the music world: The Artist Farm.

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Focusing today on producing experiences that bring people together, the company originally provided management services to artists and musicians, counting The Infamous Stringdusters as one of their clients. The Stringdusters and Michael had been discussing the possibility of creating a festival in either Virginia or Colorado, based on The Stringdusters’ years of experience attending and performing at various festivals around the country.

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In August of 2009, The Infamous Stringdusters played the Brew Ridge Trail Music Festival on the grounds of Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson County.  After Brew Ridge, it became obvious that Justin, Michael and The Stringdusters all shared the same vision for an idyllic fall camping experience and decided that Devils Backbone Basecamp in Nelson County, VA was a perfect location within the Blue Ridge Mountains. When The Stringdusters returned to Charlottesville later that fall to record their album “Things That Fly”, then-Cerberus, The Artist Farm, and The Stringdusters began planning what became The Festy Experience.

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Like with many new ventures, there was a challenge coming up with the right name for the proposed event.  The group used the placeholder “The Festy” (a common and generic term used to describe a festival) to refer to the event until a proper name was generated.  At the same time, it became apparent that curating the right “experience” was going to be essential to the success and sustainability of the event.  As planning continued, the name The Festy Experience took hold… and the rest is history.


In 2015, we are all excited to celebrate 6 years of The Festy Experience, but we’re celebrating more than the music, the location and the Experience itself. We’re celebrating the successful venture of 2 small local businesses that continue giving back to the community that has helped nurture The Festy to grow into the annual event we all look forward to every Columbus Day weekend. Buy your tickets now!


1) The Festy is a sustainability-minded, family-loving, camping festival celebrating music and the outdoor lifestyle, with craft beer, local fare and features headliners such as Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush, Brett Dennen and more. 

2) We are in our 6th year, this will be our last at the Devils Backbone property. New location in Nelson County coming soon. 

3) All proceeds benefit Common Ground Healing Arts. 

4) The event is presented by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine–and they are hosting the Blue Ridge Burn again, the 5K & 10K race on-site. 


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