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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! 

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!

Rising Appalachia at FloydFest

Rising Appalachia began years ago as the front porch project of sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith to pay homage to their family. However, the dedication the sisters share to social activism started many years before through their involvement in community justice work and local food movements. Using their talent as a way to both share stories and encourage introspection, the sisters combined their interests to create an experience that is unique and inspiring. Joined by their beloved band, percussionist Biko Casini and bassist/guitarist David Brown, they share their colorful sound all over the world. Born and raised in the concrete jungle of Atlanta, Georgia, Leah and Chloe sharpened their instincts in the mountains of Appalachia, and fine-tuned their soul on the streets of New Orleans. This has resulted in a 6-album career that showcases a melting pot of folk music simplicity, textured songwriting, and “those bloodline harmonies that only siblings can pull off.”

Though it is not without challenges, Leah and Chloe stay true to their passions in the face of a fast-paced environment that has a tendency to push talented musicians into egocentric rockstars. They call their approach the Slow Music Movement.

“We’ve always explored sustainable touring ideas and options. We do everything from alternative travel methods like touring by train, to making sure as much local food as possible is brought to the green rooms and encouraging festivals to have a relationship with farm-to-table food. We don’t use plastic water bottles, and we avoid single-use plastic, encouraging the venue to take that on themselves as well,” explains Leah.

Fans will not find the band at strip malls or in hotel parking lots either. They make a point to seek out lodging near national parks, cabins, or stay with friends in farm homes. Additionally, they often visit urban gardens in the cities, and try to put their time and energy into neighborhoods, communities, and land-based projects.

“We are constantly trying to steal away moments for introspection, writing, and mindfulness. I walk every day, all over the place, wherever I am,” says Leah. “That’s kind of my movement meditation.”

Staying so close to the community keeps their desire to help others and be present as focal points in their journey. The band makes time during their performance to share the power of the stage and introduce audiences to those doing important ground work in social justice and equality efforts. Their tour schedule does not allow them to remain and nurture the impact in any one community, so it is important to Leah and Chloe to make sure the seeds they plant of emotional and environmental sustainability can grow even in their absence. Shifting the power to local faces helps ensure that will happen.

“Music is the tool with which we wield political prowess. We are building community and tackling social injustice through melody, making the stage reach out with wide arms to gather this great family. It has taken on its own personality, carrying us all along the journey,” says Leah.

“I’m really inspired by the beautiful, radical creative folks that show up in our audiences, “she adds. “Night after night, there are so many creative bright lights. We are inspired by our fan base. They have always been powerful, productive, and proactive folks in their communities. I think for our band and interpersonally, it has given us more purpose. We hope [our purpose] is reaching wider than us, and we are all grateful to have this vehicle to express ourselves.”

Rising Appalachia is touring all over Europe this summer, but FloydFest has a special place in their hearts, and is one of few festivals they will play in the United States in 2017. Catch them on stage both Saturday and Sunday, and follow up by learning how to support local farmers, seeking out sustainable resource options, and finding a quiet place to meditate on personal growth.

The best way to keep the feeling of a good show alive is to carry the inspiration from it with you and learn from it long after the audience dissipates. From Leah’s perspective, Rising Appalachia is going to do everything they can to put on a show that feeds your soul and lights that spark.

“At it’s best, [being on stage] is magical,” she explains. “We spend concerted effort trying to make sure we create a radical setting for the audience. We want to a take them on as much of a journey as possible.”

If you can’t make it to FloydFest this year, be sure to check out their new live album, Alive, this fall. Do yourself a favor when you do, and make it a truly immersive experience. Turn off the notifications on your phone, meditate, and enjoy the tapestry of stories woven into song by this talented band.

For more information about Rising Appalachia, visit www.risingappalachia.com.