Category Archives: Happenings

Virginia Made: RIOT Rooster

Holiday Shopping

Support local artisans and small businesses while celebrating RIOT Rooster’s 10th Anniversary!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

To say we are excited about RIOT Rooster is an under-statement! This month, RIOT Rooster will celebrate its 10th year, and will host their two-day event at 16 West Marketplace. Come on out to shop small, relax, and celebrate with your favorite Bella girls on Friday, November 16 from 5-10pm and Saturday, November 17 from 9am-6pm!

As returning fans of this event already know, there are many reasons to love and support RIOT Rooster. In addition to the importance of supporting local, small businesses, RIOT Rooster is a place that puts the fun back in holiday shopping. Unlike other shopping events in the area, it is open to the public with no admis-sion fee! Community is the main focus here, and you’ll find that in the details. Always family-friendly, special features include a fire-pit lounge and the Cactus Joe Choo Choo, which will offer free down-town rides to attendees.

Several artists participating this year are making limited edition items to commemorate the 10th anniversary of this special event. First up, one of our personal favorites: Piper Lane, of Magpiper Metalworks (www.facebook.com/magpipermetalworks), is creating a “ring for the resistance”. She will offer ten of these limited edition, adjustable rings, exclusively for RIOT Rooster.

Next, Giant Star (www.facebook.com/giantstarco), a collaboration between Josh Gibson of Giant Step Design and Stratton Delany from Starlight Bicycles, will offer a limited edition RIOT Rooster tee available only at this year’s event. They will also sell their popular stock designs of regional natural assets such as McAffee Knob and The Cove.

Finally, Robin Gross and Andy Dillon of Transcendent Glass (www.facebook.com/TranscendentGlass), a knitting and glass-making business, will create their own limited edition collaborative piece for RIOT Rooster. Keep an eye out on social media for more details as they are available!

With what we know about RIOT Rooster, 16 West Marketplace will be filled with talented artisans, and there will be something special for everyone! This is the place to find handmade, upcycled, recycled, and odd and useful gifts for all of the people who are hard to shop for on your holiday lists. Set aside time to browse and enjoy the environment—you won’t even have to leave for food and beverages!

Existing businesses will be open inside 16 West Market-place, including Little Green Hive and Wok n Roll Kitchen. The Roanoke City Democratic Committee will also serve craft libations on both days, with all proceeds benefitting the West End Center.

This event is eagerly anticipated by those who attend every November, so don’t miss your opportunity to get there on Friday night and take advantage of swag while you shop for the limited-edition items throughout 16 West Marketplace! Stay tuned to RIOT Rooster’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RIOTRooster) for vendor updates, giveaways, and more!

 

Hayleigh is a freelance writer, independent author, and writing consultant. In 2017, she published her first novel, The Huntsman: A modern retelling of Red Riding Hood. She spends a lot of time traveling and exploring new regions for inspiration, but Roanoke will always be her home. www.hayleighworgan.com.

Local Festivals

Opportunities to enjoy music, art, and fun in the coming months!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Festival season is here, and we couldn’t be more excited! There is nothing better than spending a long weekend enjoying the warm weather, scenic mountain views, live music, and local food in the company of good friends and family. In addition to FloydFest, there are several festivals within driving distance happening in the next few months that we hope you will support! Check out our favorites below, and let us know your favorites on our Facebook page.

The 14th Annual Horse & Hound Wine Festival takes place on July 14 from 11am-6pm at Johnson’s Orchards & Peaks of Otter Winery! Enjoy local wines from Peaks of Otter Winery, Rebec Vineyards, Tamahawk Mill, Ramulose Ridge, and more! Live entertainment will be provided by BigBossMan at this dog-friendly event. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the town of Bedford and support small businesses and local food trucks. Previous years have included appearances from the Virginia Donkey Rescue, a Parade of Horses, a Kiddie Korral, agility dogs, and even muskrat racing! Visit www.peaksofotterwinery.com for more information on ticket prices and how to purchase them. 

Can’t get enough of Floyd? We’re in the same boat. That’s why we will be attending the Cirque Du Floyd at Chantilly Farm August 17-18! Featuring performances from New York City’s ImaginAerial, Cheeky Monkey Sideshow, Mountain Circus Arts, Juggler Erin Riley, Magician Nelson Oliver, DanceAFire, Imagine Circus, StoryUP!, Miss Kitty’s Cosmonauts, Gartrell the Great, live music from The Get Right Band and Music Road Company, and more! Enjoy a beer and wine lounge, local food, crafts and workshops, sideshow stage and roaming performances, along with a lot of outdoor fun. Arrive by 2pm on Friday to take advantage of free tent camping for the weekend! Visit www.chantillyfarm.com for more information on the event and how to purchase your tickets.

Microfestivus celebrates its 21st anniversary this year! On Saturday, August 11, join the festivities from 12pm-6pm in downtown Roanoke. This is the premier fundraiser for the Square Society, a local 501c(3) nonprofit established to raise interest in awareness of the arts, as well as cultural facilities and activities supported by Center in the Square. This annual event has grown to be one of the largest beer festivals on the entire East Coast, and is a great opportunity to enjoy the ever-growing craft beer marketplace at an event that strives to offer a wide variety of local, regional, and national breweries. www.microfestivus.squaresociety.org

Floyd Yoga Jam’s four-day music, yoga, dance, and art festival will return from August 30-September 2. This is a great opportunity for beginner to advanced yogis to relax, learn, and make new friends! The 2018 lineup will include musical entertainment by Oddisee, Phoebe Hunt & The Gatherer’s, The Get Right Band, Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers, Seph Custer, Dangermuffin, and more! Floyd Yoga Jam is known for their excellent lineup of professional teachers who provide instruction for a variety of classes. Participants can also enjoy nature walks, meditation, art classes, and lectures. This festival is kid-friendly and includes a Kid Village that will host yoga classes specifically designed for children. The food trucks and beverage options alone are excellent reasons to attend this event. There are multiple options for camping, including a glamping package. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit www.floydyogajam.net.

Get Wild at FloydFest!

Follow us up the mountain for fun, music, and an experience you will never forget!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

It’s no secret, we believe FloydFest is one of the most magical places on earth. The 2018 “Wild” theme encourages visitors to be part of the magic and enjoy the beauty of the mountains around them. This year, FloydFest has new features to keep things fresh for returning festival-goers, in addition to the amenities we all know and love!

Entertainment will be divided among eight stages for FloydFest 18. Dreaming Creek Main Stage, the signature stage located in the main field, remains a familiar landmark. Additionally, Hill Holler Stage, the Ferrum College Workshop Porch, the Red Rooster Village Cafe, Children’s Universe, VIP Pub Stage, and Pink Floyd Beer & Wine Garden will return. The “Throwdown Tent” is a new addition this year, and will feature yoga every morning, hands-on demonstrations and workshops each day, and live performances in the afternoon and evening.

And speaking of performances—naturally, I am including a shameless plug for some of the amazing female-fronted bands throughout the festival! On Thursday at 3:30pm, check out the country and rock singer Nikki Lane on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage. Her third album was released in 2017, and her new music has been compared to Lana Del Ray, Jenny Lewis, Neil Young, and Tom Petty. Later in the evening, don’t miss Lindsay Lou. This trio will have you dancing by the Hill Holler Stage at 6:45pm on Thursday night! Their sound has been described as a mix of Americana, groove, roots, soul, and bluegrass.

On Friday, Lindsay Lou will play once more on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage at 3:30pm. Then, take a walk to the Ferrum College Workshop Porch to relax to the sounds of the Mama Said String Band at 5:30pm. This five-piece string band will prime you for an evening of dancing and celebration! The Broadcast, a soulful blues, roots, and rock band formed in New York City and developed in North Carolina, takes the Pink Floyd Garden Stage on Saturday at 12:45am. Finish out the evening with the “explosive vocals” of lead singer Caitlin Krisko. Fans of high energy performances by 1970s classic rock bands will love this set.

Saturday, head over to the Dreaming Creek Main Stage for smoky vocals of Nicki Bluhm at 3:30pm. Nicki is a singer, songwriter, and performer. She released her first album in 2008, and has toured throughout North America through the release of her subsequent albums, appearing at festivals like Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Newport Folk, and Telluride Bluegrass. Next, VIP ticket holders will have the opportunity to catch the sounds of Morgan Wade & the Stepbrothers at 4:45pm on the VIP Stage. Morgan Wade is famous in Southwest Virginia for her country, folk, and high-energy Americana sound. Together, the band delivers “an intersection of rock, country, and folk that reflects the beauty, anger, hunger, and hope of coming of age in modern Appalachia.”

ZZ Ward will deliver an unforgettable performance on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage at 8pm on Saturday. Her second full-length album was released in 2017, and has been described as “equally evocative of blues grit and hip-hop bounce.” Ward has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Conan, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, and more. She’s toured with Eric Clapton, and performed at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Firefly, and Made in America. Enjoy her set, and stick around for Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at 10:30pm and the “Buffalo Mountain Jam” at midnight.

There really is no shortage of excellent bands at this festival. Fan favorites, Leftover Salmon and Keller Williams, will return for multiple performances. Government Mule will take the Dreaming Creek Main Stage at 10:30pm on Thursday. On Friday, Foster the People will play on the same stage at 11pm. You’ll want to stay through Sunday, as Old Crow Medicine Show will play at 6pm on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage as well. In fact, music and celebration will continue until 1am on Monday morning. 

If music isn’t your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures awaiting FloydFest guests. Last year, we enjoyed an “On the Water” adventure that included a catered lunch and three hours on the water. A 45-minute shuttle ride (either via school bus or 15 passenger van) will take you to the Little River for this canoe/kayak/tubing trip. Book your adventure for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and/or Sunday. Make sure to bring your sunscreen and waterproof your phone or camera! You’ll want photos from this excursion!

FloydFest will also host the “Merry Moonstompers’ Famous Belcher Mountain Beatdown” on Saturday at 9:30am. This guided mountain bike tour depends the Blue Ridge and finishes with miles of handbill single track trail! This is not recommended for beginner mountain bikers, but there are miles of beginner-friendly trails in I.C. Dehart Park to explore at your leisure. Bring your own bicycle and helmet. 

Both the “On the Water” adventure and the “Merry Moonstompers’ Famous Belcher Mountain Beatdown” have small additional fees and require registration. Check out the FloydFest website, or register at the FloydFest Outdoor Experience Tent onsite (if space is still available). 

Runners will also love the Back Country Ski & Sport 5k Trail Running Race! Registration is free, and the race begins Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Top runners in several categories will receive prizes. The race will take runners through parts of the festival sites and continue with two laps on the Moonstomper Trail. 

There are also hiking and disc golf opportunities for whose who are interested. Visit the FloydFest Outdoor Experience Tent for hours and rules regarding usage. 

Ultimately, you will get the most out of FloydFest by staying all five days. Trust us, you will not be bored. On-site food trucks, craft beer, and wine are available for those who are interested. Between sets, relax in your hammock beneath the shade of the trees by your tent. 

And, if tent camping isn’t your thing, don’t worry! There are additional options for your overnight stay including Solid Ground Shelters for Glampers, Dancing Dave’s Festival Camping, The Show Sherpas, and Ferrum College Lodge & Learn. Regardless of where you sleep, every FloydFest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will have you wishing it would never end!

For more information on the festival, and to purchase tickets, visit www.floydfest.com. We can’t wait to see you there! 

March Happenings

On Thursday, March 8 at 7:30pm, Dervish, a traditional Irish septet band, is performing in the Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center. Dervish has been playing traditional Irish music for over 25 years, and are well known for their live performances. The lively music is their interpretation of traditional Irish songs; their music can be upbeat and fast or thoughtful and slow. Dervish has played all over the world, even from the Great Wall of China! If you’re looking for a new way to experience Irish culture this March check out Dervish. To learn more about this event and purchase tickets visit www.jeffcenter.org/dervish.

Look for some family friendly fun this March? Come out to Virginia Western Community College for movie screenings that will be shown at the Whitman Theater in the Business Science Building. On Friday, March 2, at 2pm and again at 6pm the movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle(PG-13) will be showing. Then on Friday, March 16, at 2pm and then later at 6pm the college will be showing Star Wars–The Last Jedi(PG-13). All showings are free and open to the public. You are welcome to bring your own snacks, but are asked not to leave a mess. For more information, go to www.virginiawestern.edu.

On March 17, get ready for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Shamrock Festival! The parade starts at 11am on Elm Ave then to Campbell Ave and finishes on Williamson Road. This is event is kid-friendly, from 12pm-5pm two free Kid Zones will be set up. In front of the Taubman Museum and in the Market Square children will be able to enjoy face painting, inflatables, games, and so much more!  The Shamrock Festival starts on noon that day at the Wells Fargo Plaza. Admission is free and this event will include live music and adult beverages. Check out www.downtownroanoke.org for more information.

Opera Roanoke presents Puccini’s La Boheme in the Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center. On Friday, April 6 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, April 8 at 3pm, this Italian opera spread over four acts comes to Roanoke’s stage. Follow a group of struggling artists through love, laughs, and loss in 19th Century Paris. The iconic role of Mimi is to be performed by Chelsea Bonagura, who has won awards in Charlotte Opera Guild Competition and the Rosen-Schaffer Completion. For more information and to buy your tickets go to www.operaroanoke.org.

Written by Lilith Turman

Extraordinary Women: Xe Jah’Twi

Her voice makes every conversation pause in a venue. Xe Jah’Twi, or Xena, is a lead vocalist with Vibe Riot, an East Coast Indie band with a Bluesy Funk Ragga Rock sound unlike anyone else. She gives her best to every performance, and what results is a remarkable presentation indicative of both her talent and her natural chemistry with the band. Of course, long before Xena took the stage with Vibe Riot, music was her passion.

As a child, Xena watched her father become an integral part of the music world while working in promotions. She fell in love with music in the 1980s, specifically Salt-N-Pepa. Their strong personalities as women, the rapping, the music, the female DJ—to Xena, they had everything.

Dancing began to call to her as well, and ultimately solidified her connection to the art.

“I wanted so badly to be a background dancer,” she recalls. “but I was too shy to bring it up.”

Xena met Jaewar, Vibe Riot’s frontman, while living in New York. At the time, she was a student, working hard to provide for her two children. She received a phone call from a friend asking if she wanted to contribute vocals to a song. Xena did a little research on the band and agreed.

Melody Robbins Photography

“I said, ‘If I do this in the first take, you guys owe me something. I want a treehouse in Haiti and some sushi.’ And I did it. The next time I heard from Jae was when the record was done, and the second time was when I came to Virginia to do the video. When we saw each other, it was like we never dropped the ball. With your best friend, it’s always a comfortable situation.”

Jaewar and Xena started exchanging ideas, and the encouragement helped her overcome any of the remaining hurdles that often accompany shyness.

To see her on stage now, you would never know that this dynamic performer was once too shy to be a background dancer. She fits perfectly into Vibe Riot’s family of compassionate and outgoing band members.

“I’m just me,” she says. “Xena means hospitality. When you have people who are accepting of you, it helps bring that out. That would be the one trait all have that is the same. We are just personable people.”

Prior to performing, she interacts with fans and makes real connections. When she returns to the stage, it is not only with the support of her fellow musicians, but of everyone else in the building. The positive energy creates a relaxing environment so the performers and the audience can truly vibe out to the music.

“We tell stories and talk about the political atmosphere to a certain degree. We show the cohesiveness and people coming from different backgrounds. It’s not the typical hip hop you would hear. The sound is different. It connects to heartbeat of a person,” she explains.

Xena hopes that audiences will relate to the music, and consider the responsibility we all have as citizens to encourage authentic discourse regarding current issues.

“You see a cohesiveness and understand that communication is possible any time a group of people come together on a small scale, like a household; on a medium scale, like a band; and on a large scale, like a government. It is one of the number one factors that contributes to wellness. If you can’t respectively communicate, then how do you expect anything else to be eradicated?” she asks.

As Xena continues her journey with Vibe Riot, she is excited to be included in more of the writing process. A lyricist by nature, she is enjoying her growth as a writer as much as she treasures what they have created on their latest EP, True! Raw Honey.

This is only small taste of Xe Jah’Twi’s phenomenal and inspiring story of tenacity, strength, and talent. It is all the more reason to attend one of Vibe Riot’s upcoming performances. Get there early, and you may have a chance to hear more of her story in person!

Check out Vibe Riot’s tour schedule here for more information. Roanoke fans, get ready! Vibe Riot is scheduled to perform at Martin’s Downtown on Saturday, February 17 at 10pm.

 

Photography by Melody Robbins Photography.

February at the Jefferson Center

On Saturday, February 10, at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 11, at 3:00pm in the Shaftman Performance Hall at the Jefferson Center the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra will be performing. The Orchestra presents Vivaldi The Four Seasons and Appalachian Spring. The Four Seasons is a beautiful violin piece that is sure to be memorable. The event will finish with Copland’s music for the ballet, Appalachian Spring. Led by Akemi Takayama, concertmaster of 14 years at the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the show is sure to be breathtaking.

Joan Soriano will be taking the stage at the Jefferson Center in the Fostek Rehearsal Hall, on Friday the 16 at 8:00pm. Soriano grew up in the Dominican Republican, he made his first guitar out of a tin can and fishing line. Today he has seven recorded albums and is renowned for his blend of modern and traditional bachata music.

Starting at 9:00pm, immediately after Soriano performance, attend the 15th Annual Latin Dance Party inside Fitzpatrick Hall. If you attended Soriano’s show you get a $3 discount on admission to the party! There will be a 30-minute salsa workshop and then a live performance from West End Mambo. You won’t want to miss this lively event!

“An Evening with Andrew Bird,” will take place on Thursday, February 22 at 7:30pm in the Shaftman Performance Hall. Andrew Bird is a talented singer, song-writer, and multi-instrumentalist. As a kid he began playing violin at 4 and ever since then he was drawn to music of all types. Today Bird has released 13 albums and has even been a featured presenter on Ted Talk. A dollar from each ticket sold will be donated to Everyone for Gun Safety.

For more information about all these events and so many more, or to purchase tickets visit the Jefferson Center’s event page. Pick up the February issue of Bella for more information on Melissa Aldana’s concert later this month!

Written by Lilith Turman

Profile: Melissa Aldana

Tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana will perform at the Jefferson Center on February 17 at 7 pm and again at 9 pm. A rising tenor saxophone star, Aldana recently released her second trio album (and fourth as a leader). “Back Home” unveils a powerful musical creation by Aldana and her illustrious bandmates. Not so much reminiscent of a specific place, “Back Home” evokes something a little deeper for Aldana.

“Back Home is a tribute to Sonny Rollins, who has been a huge influence on me since I was ten years old,” she explains. “It makes a reference to the first time I heard him playing back home in Chile. I completely fell in love with the sound of his tenor. He is organic and funny. Those are some of the most important elements in music. It’s like he’s having a conversation with you, and you can hear how he’s taking risks and trying new things. Those are the elements I want to have in my own playing.”

Aldana describes her relationship with the tenor saxophone as a lifelong commitment. The journey with the instrument has allowed her to mature as an artist, and her dedication to it remains. From New York to Montreal (and around the world), she carries that pivotal moment when she first heard Sonny Rollins play with her in addition to the lessons she has learned from other artistic influences. In this way, she can allow the music she creates to tell the story of her travels, experiences, and personal growth.

On “Back Home” she includes a track called “Time” that is a “meditation on her life since departing Chile.” She has described the nostalgic track as a reflection of the last nine years of her life. As the tenor saxophone carries the listener through the ups and downs of the accumulated time, it is not hard to give over the memories of one’s own adventures. This is exactly the impact Aldana hopes to have with her work.

“I hope [the audience] has fun and goes on a trip with the music. Also, I hope they enjoy it as much as I did when I recorded the album,” she adds.

Joining Aldana for her February 17 show are Sam Harris on the piano, Thomas Crane on the drums, and Pablo Menares on the bass. Together, they project an “uncommonly full orchestral sound, rich in spiritual intensity, all in the absence of a harmony instrument.” The experience is one that Roanoke audiences are unlikely to forget, and Aldana is excited to introduce both new and returning fans to her new music.

To purchase tickets, visit www.jeffcenter.org. For more information on Melissa Aldana and how to purchase her music, go to www.melissaaldana.com.

Artists Added to the FloydFest 18 Lineup!

FloydFest has announced new additions to their lineup for FloydFest 18~Wild!

Added to the schedule are the following bands:
Leftover Salmon
Keller Williams
The National Reserve
The Broadcast
Erin & The Wildfire
Mama Said String Band
Fireside Collective
Sol Searchers
Blue Mule
The Floorboards
My Radio
Black Mountain Revival
GOTE
Morgan Wade & The Stepbrothers
Los Chupacabras

We can’t wait to see these amazing artists perform July 25-29! For more information on FloydFest (and how to purchase tickets!) visit www.floydfest.com. We’ll see you there!