Rooster Walk

Rooster Walk: Not Your Average Barnyard Fowl

The Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival is officially a wrap. Four days of significant amounts of sunshine, music, and comradery, came to an end on Sunday night with festival-favorite, Brooklyn-based Americana rock band Yarn closing down the party.

While the festival drew in nearly 5,000 music lovers from far and wide, the purpose behind the festival was evident to many, as more than 200 volunteers donated time to making this year’s event a success. Rooster Walk, which began as a one-day gathering of family and friends eight years ago to celebrate the lives of Edwin “the Rooster” Penn and Walker Shank, two Martinsville friends who died nearly a year apart while only in their early twenties, has evolved into a signature community event and fundraiser for the Martinsville school system.

“You won’t go far without finding a family or community connection,” said Beth Baptist, mother of William Baptist, one of the festival founders. “Everything at Rooster Walk has meaning and purpose behind it. I tear up just talking about it. This festival has really helped the families and the community with the grieving process.”

Festival Faces

Festival Faces

All summer we go from festival to festival catching our favorite bands. It was recently my birthday, so we drove eight hours from Philly to see Lettuce. I’ll be right down on the rail tonight when they go on. Motet, Cabinet and PBR (People’s Blues of Richmond) have also been amazing. I love the energy these bands bring. Rooster Walk has been my favorite festival so far this season. It’s nice to get out of the city and come south. The people we’ve meet have been some of the best.

Floyd Fandango

Trip the Lights Fandango

What do you get when you combine 10 + hours of live music, with craft beer tastings, a farm-to-table dinner, trail races, children’s activities, and wellness workshops, all in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains? It’s none other than the next generation cult classic: Floyd Fandango.

Being billed as the “FloydFest Love Child,” Fandango can either be an old-school FloydFest experience, for all of you veteran FloydFesters. Or, it can be a little taste of everything you’re missing out on if you’ve never experienced the “magic, music, and mountains” that FloydFest provides for five days every July.

For those of you who fall in the previous category, you can expect the same combination of eclectic roots music and outdoor amenities, all branded with the unique, love is all around me FloydFest vibe you’ve come to know and love. While the schedule is still being finalized, the lineup is packed full of talent.

Music Fans

Fandom Firsthand

“We were raised in the 70’s on Classic and Southern Rock.  During our dating years we made mix tapes of hip hop, R&B and what is now known as old school rap.  But it was a few years into our marriage that we discovered our love of live music.  A co-worker gave us two tickets…

Music Festival Season Starts Memorial Day Weekend

It might be Monday, but Memorial Day weekend is in sight, and that means the start of music festival season! Rooster Walk is just three days and counting, and is ready to fill your ears with an eclectic lineup of 50 bands that includes a Bluegrass Super Jam hosted by festival favorite Town Mountain on Saturday night.
The festival fun doesn’t end there. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the best music festivals Western Virginia has to offer:

FloydFest, July 27 – 31, provides “five days of music and magic in the mountains.” Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats are just a few of what you’ll find at this festival located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

LOCKN’: Phish, Ween and My Morning Jacket, are just a few of the bands that will be ROCKN’ LOCKN’ August 25 – 28 in Nelson County.

Front Porch Fest, another mighty fine festival located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a lineup that includes Zach Deputy, The Hip Abduction, and Dangermuffin.

Bristol Rythym & Roots, Sept. 16 – 18, is a “soul–a celebration of Bristol’s heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music.” This year’s festival features Loretta Lynn Official, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Keller Williams, plus many more.

The Festy Experience, a festival started by fans of the The Infamous Stringdusters, runs Oct. 7 – 9 in Nelson County. Stay tuned for lineup information.

Mark your calendars and get ready to jam!

Shorefire Roanoke Va

Artist Snapshot: Dan Carrell

Getting out and performing live is an incredible experience. It is pure adrenaline. It’s exciting, yet nerve-wrecking. You rehearse for days/weeks/months in advance. You know the material. You’re ready to get out there and melt people’s faces off. Then the questions begin: Will people dig my sound? Will people even show up to listen to me play? What if I forget the lyrics? These are legit fears. But then the adrenaline kicks in. To play a show and look out in the crowd and see people truly loving it, that adrenaline is undeniable. Watching people sing words to songs we wrote is more valuable than anything money can buy.

My band, Shorefire, blends Reggae, Rock and Funk into something unique. While I can play electric guitar, bass, djembe, and drums, I like to think that my strongest instrument is my voice. Bradley Nowell (Sublime) has had a huge influence on my musical flavor. I also love anything that David Byrne (Talking Heads) touches. But, the people around me are my inspiration to keep playing. I’ve somehow managed to surround myself with incredible musicians. A lot of guys that I grew up with have formed some amazing bands: The Floorboards, Half Moon, Lazy Man Dub Band, Tobacco Apache, Groovascape, Barefoot West, Ripejive, and the list goes on. It’s incredible to be surrounded by such a COMMUNITY of musicians who promote each other’s shows and are genuine fans of the music.

Jason Martin

Martin’s Downtown: Something BIG

It’s a rainy Saturday night in late April. One of those nights you’d expect many to opt to stay dry, tucked away inside. One of those nights where you, yourself go back and forth on should I stay or should I go?

On the weekend, you know if you opt to go out, you can always count on Martin’s Downtown for something good. However, on this drab Saturday evening, I was not prepared for something this good, or rather something this BIG. I knew downtown was the right decision when I opened the Martin’s doors and was knocked over by the scope of the crowd and the blasting tunes. On stage was alt rock band, Big Something, out of Burlington, NC, delivering powerful sounds that fuse rock, funk, and jam band elements into something wholly new.

That night, they were wizards conjuring spirits from the assembled audience members. While some patrons stood stoically grooving to the sounds, many were crushed up near the stage pulsing hard to the sounds of this enigmatic group. It was a mix of dance, light, and sound, that brought the crowd to a frenzy usually seen in the confines of festival gatherings, occurring inside a club on a rainy Saturday night.

Blondie performs in Roanoke

MayDay! Blondie En-“Raptures” Roanoke

The sky threatened rain as local indie rock and opening band, My Radio, took the stage last night at Elmwood Park, but that didn’t stop the masses from once again packing the park for installment number two in the Totally Rad Roanoke ~ Star City Concert Series featuring legendary New York punk rock band Blondie.

With the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop, love was once again in the air as glamourous stilt walkers danced among the crowd, the cold beer flowed, and rock lovers of all ages edged closer to the stage. It was instantly clear that the summer festival season had arrived.

Girls Rock Roanoke This Saturday

A solid drummer is a fundamental component of any great rock band. While there’s a notable list of female drummers, it’s an instrument mostly associated with men. One local group is on a mission to change that.

Girls Rock Roanoke (GRR) is a non-profit, community-based organization that works to empower young women to find their voices through music, creative expression, and collaboration, and to use those voices to be change–makers in their lives and communities. Now in its fourth year, GRR hosts two week-long summer camps where girls ages 8 – 16 come together to write an original song, play, and perform live music. Campers also attend workshops that highlight women in music history, as well as empowering workshops like self-defense, yoga, communicating with confidence, media literacy and more.