FloydFest is a mixture of young and old, old-time hippie and old-time traditional, gay and straight, liberal and conservative, odd and odder.
After five years, the event that few gave much chance of success continues to grow and fulfil the dreams of organizers Erika Hodges and Kris Johnson but the event becomes reality because of the overwhelming effort of a small paid staff and an army of volunteers.
The music is interesting and fun to photograph but as a photographer, though, I try to look beyond the event and at the people because it is the unusual mix of humanity that comes together in that sprawling field in Patrick County that really defines FloydFest.
Like the Friday Night Jamboree, the people make the event and you find a hodgepod enjoying the show. Here are a few more shots gathered from the weekend. I’m still sorting through more than a thousand images and will put some more together in both slide shows and postings throughout the week.
The skies threatened Saturday but only a brief shower fell as FloydFest 5 enjoyed a day of pleasant weather and growing crowds to see fan favorites like Donna and the Buffalo (above) on the main Dreaming Creek Stage while area bluegrass talents like The Whitetop Mountain Band (right) packed in a crowd at the Blue Cow Folklife Center.
The problem at FloydFest is not finding something to do but rather deciding which thing to do.
With music on multiple stages, crafts, workshops and the like sacattered throughout the sprawling festival site, visitors have to pace themselves for what can turn into a long, grueling day and evening.
I’ve battled leg cramps during most of this year’s events even with constant hydration and frequent rest stops. FloydFest is an event that both envelops you and wears you out.
But for most the music is still the thing and the crowds get into it big time (below). The Festival concludes tonight on the site just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Patrick County. It’s worth a day of your time.
FloydFest 5 kicked off a day early this year, starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday rather than noon on Friday and it did not open with fog or rain as in many previous years.
Still, the crowd really started coming in on Friday afternoon and, as usual, the festival drew a collection of young (left) and old.
When FloydFest started five years ago, some gave the event, staged just off the Blue Ridge Parkway just across the Floyd-Patrick County line, little chance for success.
Festival organizers Erika Johnson and Kris Hodges have have hit a few speed bumps fut the festival turned the corner last year and they hope to draw a record crowd of about 10,000 this year to the music, arts, crafts and folklife event that features more than just music, although many admit they come for the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains to see festival favorites like Donna the Buffalo.
This year’s event also features Los Lobos in a Saturday night concert.
The sun came out on Friday as Tim O’Brien (above) brought out a crowd of traditional music lovers on Friday afternoon. As always at FloydFest, people are the show (below).
FloydFest continues through Sunday night. Bring sunscreen, comfortable clothes and a hearty appetite.
The food alone is worth the visit. I’ll be there most of the weekend shooting stills and video and will try to feature a bit of both here.
Four days of FloydFest starts Thursday at the site just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Now in its 5th year, the music and arts extravaganza continues to grow. A story in Sunday’s Richmond Times Dispatch showcases the festival. What is doesn’t do is give you the dates for this year’s events (July 27-30). I can’t take credit for discovering that oversight. Fred First was first (pun fully intended). The photo of the Kasun Ensemble (above) is from last year’s festival. I’ll be there all four days this year to shoot stills and video. Say hello if you’re there.
Georgia Reynard, an old friend from college (hers) dropped by Friday for a visit to the gallery and a tour of Floyd’s music row. Georgia works at one of those politically-connected law firms in Richmond that surround the state capital like crabgrass.
After the standard tour of the Jacksonville Center, we hit Sally Walker’s Cafe del Sol for some coffee and John Winnike’s brand of easy listening jazz, then wandered up Locust Street and into the crowd outside the Country Store for the Friday Night Jamboree.
The setting sun provided great light and I quickly ran through a 2 gigabyte compact flash card on my Canon EOS-1Ds.
Further up the street, Rob Neukirch hosted Irish Night to a full house of diners at his Oddfellas Cantina.
"This is incredible," Georgia said. It was. It always is. A unseasonably cool, but still pleasant, July night with great music and an ambiance you just won’t find anywhere else.
One of Floyd’s unrecognized music venues is Oak Grove Pavillion, where Zion Lutheran Church stages free concerts just behind their sanctuary on Needmore Lane just off Christiansburg Pike. The Billy Couteau Cajun Band (above) performs on Saturday, July 8. The music is good and the atmosphere conducive to a good time. Check out more of Oak Grove’s schedule here.