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FloydFest 17: Freedom

Boasting one of the most dynamic lineups ever assembled for a multi-day world music festival, FloydFest 17~Freedom is set to deliver a truly engaging and diverse artistic experience along the magical Blue Ridge Parkway from July 26 to 30. Across nine+ stages over five days, FloydFest 17 welcomes more than 100 bands for its 17th installment, including Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Rising Appalachia, Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, Railroad Earth, Marty Stuart, and Xavier Rudd.

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and tickets are available by visiting FloydFest.com. Single- and multi-day general admission tickets are still available, with bundles available for camping. A small number of High-Roller, All-Access VIP tickets are also still available, along with additional ticket options for parking, camping, and outdoor adventure activities. Visit FloydFest.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

A recent recipient of top accolades from TIME Magazine and Fox News — and voted the 11th ‘Best Festival in the World’ and 2nd ‘Best Festival in the USA’ by FlightNetwork — FloydFest 17’s final artist lineup includes Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Rising Appalachia, Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, Railroad Earth, Shovels & Rope, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Xavier Rudd, White Denim, Turkuaz, Fruition, Keller Williams+, TAUK, The Steel Wheels, The Hip Abduction, Larry Keel Experience+, HONEYHONEY, Vurro, BIG Something, Shook Twins, Baskery, Zach Deputy, The Mantras, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Fémina, That 1 Guy, Dave Eggar Band feat. Sasha Lazard, The Lil’ Smokies, People’s Blues of Richmond, Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey, Jack Broadbent, The Suitcase Junket, Black Masala, Hillbilly Casino, Urban Soil, Blue Mule, Che Apalache, Jordan Harman Band, M.C. Broom & the Jam, T Sisters, Banditos, Jon Stickley Trio, The Tillers, Alanna Royale, The Stash! Band, Strange Americans, Whiskerman, The Brother Brothers, Honey Island Swamp Band, Edward David Anderson, Dead 27s, Davy Knowles, McLovins, Hayley Jane and the Primates, Broccoli Samurai, The Drunken Hearts, Strange Machines, Trae Pierce & the T-Stones, Liver Down The River, Sol Searchers, GOTE, Black Mountain Revival, Lobo Marino, PLF; Galax to Floyd Pickers: David & Mason Via, Aaron Woody Wood, Blake & Jamie Collins, Gina Sobel, Mason Via & Hot Trail Mix; EchoMix Artists: Konrad Kuechenmeister, Boib Funck, JANXX, Brain Hill, Dead Sea Sparrow, Kendra Warren, King Django, John DeCarlo, Gyorgy De Val; Mama Said, The Get Right Band, The Mallett Brothers, Villa*Nova, Dharma Bombs, The Folly, South Hill Banks, Seph Custer & the Papa Tom Band, Chris Ross & the North, Morgan Wade & the Stepbrothers, Mad Iguanas, Claire Hitchins, Bryan Elijah Smith & the Wildhearts, Jaewar & Vibe Riot, The Wildmans, Fernandez Sisters, Einstein’s Monkey, Girls Rock Roanoke, Community High School Band, Jefferson Center Music Lab, Mike Mitchell Trio, Dixon’s Violin; FloydFest Buskers: Brad Collier, Waiting to Exhale, Fason & Cannaday, Seph & TK, Will & Jodie Norton, Flirting with Chemicals; Nicki Calhoun, Howard Falco, Miss Kitty’s Cosmonauts, Lunaversal.hoopz, Oakely the Greenman, 1000 Faces Mask Theater, Ambrosia Farms Puppets, Magician of Life, Becky the Balloon Lady, Gravity Check Juggling, Gypsy Geoff and more.

The unforgettable magic that was FloydFest 16’s Buffalo Mountain Jam returns in 2017 for its second-annual installment. Known for its impromptu artist collaborations, super jams and special guests, the Buffalo Mountain Jam will evoke a ‘freedom’ unique to the 17th annual event—not to be missed.

“The Buffalo Mountain Jam is extremely important to witness — it’s a capstone of the festival, spotlighting ‘new-school newgrass,’” Hodges said. “It’s a free-form jam that speaks to the quality of the musicians that make it happen … a jam that speaks to freedom.”
As always, FloydFest will also include vibrant and varied vendors, quality craft brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities, onsite art installations and a final lineup featuring more than 100 artists performing on nine+ stages.

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Va. Detailed directions, tickets, and additional information are available by clicking to www.floydfest.com.
For more information, call (888) VA-FESTS or email info@floydfest.com . Find FloydFest on Twitter @floydfest, Instagram @floydfestva and Facebook @FloydFestVA.

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.