Race Ahead 2014: Trent Wagler’s Top 5 Music Festivals

Red Wing Roots Music Festival
Mt. Solon, Va., July 11-13

The Blue Ridge-based band The Steel Wheels recently made an explosion onto the contemporary Americana scene with their unique mountain sound and on-stage energy. In 2013, The Steel Wheels hosted their first music festival, appropriately named Red Wing Roots after their breakout album, at the Natural Chimneys Park in central Virginia.

“It’s the best,” says lead vocalist Trent Wagler. “Can I really be relied on to be impartial here? Well, no, but let me say that between the varied acts under the “Roots Music” name, the children’s activities, and cycling events, this is one of the best the area has to offer.”

From both a performance and organizational perspective, Wagler says there are a number of things that make a music festival great.

“The best festivals pay attention to diversity of taste and time,” he says. “A good festival organizer creates a flow to the day, just like a great artist puts together a seamless show. Giving opportunities for people to interact with each other and the outdoors in informal and formal ways is always important.”

From group bike rides to trail races, scenic settings, and a variety of top artists from different music genres, Wagler suggests Red Wing and the following four festivals to add to everyone’s calendar. redwingroots.com

Albino Skunk Festival
Greer, S.C., April 10-12 • albinoskunk.com

MerleFest
Wilkesboro, N.C., April 24-27 • merlefest.org

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
Bristol, Va./Tenn., September 19-21 • bristolrhythm.com

The Festy Experience
Roseland, Va., October 9-12 • thefesty.com

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