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Summer Round-Up: Books, Music, and More from the Blue Ridge and Beyond

Mountain Sounds

Live music is making a swift comeback with artists from all genres getting back on the road this summer. If you’re looking for outdoor show options in the Blue Ridge, head to the North Carolina High Country next month for Beech Mountain Resort’s Summer Concert Series. Over three weekends in August, the resort will host shows by Umphrey’s McGee (August 6 and 7), Tedeschi Trucks (August 14), and Greensky Bluegrass (August 21). 

Hiss Golden Messenger plays in Virginia in August. Photo by Chris Frisina

In Virginia, organizers of the Lockn’ Festival have adjusted their format this year. Instead of hosting one four-day festival, Lockn’ Farm, located in the Blue Ridge foothills town of Arrington, will host three smaller weekend events. Grateful Dead tribute act Joe Russo’s Almost Dead will play a three night stand at the venue on August 13-15, while the following weekend up-and-coming jam act Goose will lead a multi-band bill from August 20-22 that also features Dawes, Dr. Dog, and Hiss Golden Messenger. Finally, Tedeschi Trucks Band will play three nights at the farm on August 27-29 with support from the Marcus King Band. Onsite camping is available at all three shows. 

Thomas Rhett holds his newly designed sandal. Photo courtesy of Chaco

Rock Star Sandal Collabs 

We’re spotting a trend. Mainstay adventure sandal brands are partnering with well-known musicians on limited edition collaborative designs. If you’re a music fan looking for new summer kicks, check out these options.

Chaco X Thomas Rhett

Country star Thomas Rhett loves fly fishing in his free time. He even celebrated his hobby with the tune “More Time Fishin.’” Now the multi-platinum artist has partnered with Chaco to release three different sandals, available for both men and women, with colorful fish designs. “When I’m outside my creativity levels go through the roof and it’s no wonder that nature has had such an influence on my new music,” Rhett said.

Keen X Jerry Garcia

For Deadheads, Keen has teamed up with the family of Jerry Garcia to release three limited edition sandals featuring the late Grateful Dead guitarist’s art. Proceeds benefit the Wilderness Society’s effort to preserve Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

Crocs X Various Artists

Crocs gained a huge boost of renewed popularity during the pandemic, as many people sought homebound comfort, and some of the world’s most popular musicians took notice. Recently, collaborative takes on the soft clogs have been released with the likes of Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Kiss, Luke Combs, and Bad Bunny. If your favorite artist gets in on the action, act fast. The limited edition designs typically sell out quickly. 

3 Summer Reads

Hardly Easy

Author Kim Jochl, a former competitive skier based in North Carolina, leans on her experience as a licensed pilot to craft the narrative in her debut YA novel. Set in the Appalachians, “Hardly Easy” is an empowering story of a teenaged girl determined to pursue aviation despite her father’s objections. It’s a coming-of-age tale full of hard lessons, perseverance, and adventure.

Stronger Than The Dark: Exploring the Intimate Relationship Between Running and Depression

Ultrarunner and licensed counselor Cory Reese delivers a poignant memoir about his own battle with depression and the clarity he’s found through long-distance running. Central to the story is a particularly enlightening 314-mile journey on foot across Tennessee.

Blacktop Wasteland

Need a can’t-put-it-down beach read? Grab S.A. Crosby’s “Blacktop Wasteland,” a fictional crime thriller recently released in paperback. Set in southeast Virginia, the story’s main character, Beauregard, is a legendary getaway driver trying to put a life of crime in the rearview. But as a struggling mechanic in an economically depressed region, he has to make some tough choices to take care of his family. 

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