FloydFest: Peace, Love & Music

Music festivals—like FloydFest—can be addictive. Check out why we crave them!

I was a bit nervous when Peter agreed to attend FloydFest ’18 with me. He’s not that “into” concerts. He’s the guy in the audience with arms folded, looking a bit bored, while I, on the other hand, dance around in circles and let my inner flower child go wild. Sometimes I wish he would loosen up a bit, move his feet, and get in the groove, but no, it’s just not his thing.

Nevertheless, Peter agreed to come to FloydFest in July to make me happy—what a guy. And guess what happened? He liked it, he really liked it. In fact, as we were tromping across the festival grounds to see yet another band play, he turned to me and said, “You know what? This can be addictive.”

Ferrum College Lodge & Learn

Comfy Digs in College Dorms + Hot Showers

FloydFest, in case you have been under a rock for nearly two decades, is a five-day music festival beside the Blue Ridge Parkway, not far from Floyd, Virginia. It has nothing to do with Pink Floyd, other than one of the stages (my personal favorite) is called the Pink Floyd Garden Stage. Named one of the North America’s Top Music Festivals, FloydFest is indeed an addiction for a lot of folks who return year after year.

This was my second FloydFest, and while I loved my first experience with son Ross, I wasn’t keen on camping in a pup tent again. So Peter and I opted to try the Ferrum College Lodge and Learn option instead. That’s right, we slept in comfy beds in a dorm room with hot showers and dining hall breakfasts, just like in my college days. A shuttle ferried us back and forth between Ferrum and the festival grounds, making it a super chill option for non-campers.

An added bonus was the opportunity to learn more about Ferrum College, a liberal arts college founded in 1913, and the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, a museum and resource center dedicated to documenting and preserving folklife of Virginia and Middle Appalachia. Peter and I stopped in the museum for a quick look around and explored a quilt exhibit and their cozy gift shop.

Across the street at the Blue Ridge Farm Museum, we met costumed interpreters who reenacted life in the early 19th century. The farm is also home to the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, Virginia’s largest regional folk festival, which will be held Oct. 27, 2018.

Get Ready for FloydFest ’19

You Never Know What Kind of Music You're Going To Hear

Our two oldest sons, Scott and Jasper, decided they wanted to come to FloydFest, too, so we helped them pitch their tent in a sweet spot with a little bit of shade. A small canopy tent increased the shade quotient and provided a nice place to sit and relax when we needed a break from festival crowds. Vendors are everywhere at FloydFest, selling all kinds of yummy fare, but you can also bring food from home. Picnicking at the campsite with Peter and the boys was one of the highlights of the weekend.

So was seeing friends, like John and Elaine, who go to our church and are big fans of FloydFest—maybe even addicted—and come almost every year with another couple, Lucy and Mark. They also had a fabulous campsite with a shaded “living room” between their tents. We joined them for hot dogs one evening—best hot dogs I ever tasted!

Another college buddy Emily is also a FloydFest addict. She’s been to almost every one since it started in 2002. She loves the chill vibe of the festival. “I look forward to it each year,” she says. “You never know what kind of music you’re going to hear, but you know it’ll be good.”

Oh yes, the music. It’s pretty much non-stop, spread across eight stages, ranging from hyper-local acts to nationally known bands like the Infamous Stringdusters and Old Crow Medicine Show. Bands skew toward bluegrass, but other genres are also in the lineup. You’ll also find a lot of up-and-coming bands, like Greta van Fleet and the Darma Bombs. Often band members will share the stage, and some of the best music occurs during spontaneous jams. I was sorry not to see more headliners like the bands that appeared at my previous FloydFest—Jackson Browne, Michael Franti, and Bruce Hornsby—but this year’s music kept me dancing and happy.

FloydFest has been described as ageless and classless, and that’s what I love about it. People of all ages—even families—come together for five days of peace, love, and music. Everyone’s smiling and getting along. There’s no drama. And I have to say I have never seen cleaner festival grounds. Besides an army of volunteers that tidies up, everyone seems to pitch in and keep things clean.

Tips for Next Summer's FloydFest

2019 FloydFest Lineup Announced Soon - Get the Best Deals on Tickets.

A word to the wise. Tickets go on sale Nov. 1, 2018, for FloydFest ’19 (July 24-28), and prices increase as festival dates approach. If you’re thinking about going, sign up for the FloydFest mailing list, so you’ll be notified of news about next year’s festival. As for Peter, he hasn’t committed to FloydFest ’19 yet, but I’m hopeful. Maybe we’ll even take some dancing lessons.

The 2019 lineup is announced and tickets go on sale for FloydFest ‘19 on Nov. 1, 2018.

Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com
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