This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in Roanoke Business Magazine, Oct. 2017
The Roanoke region has rebranded itself as an outdoors destination over the past half-decade, and at the same time has developed into a musical hotspot.
Music venues have popped up so rapidly it’s hard to believe the 2008 Roanoke city council election split in part over the question of whether to build an amphitheater in Elmwood Park or along the Roanoke River. Today, both sites are home to outdoor music venues that book a steady stream of acts through the warmer months. The Berglund Center — formerly known as the Roanoke Civic Center — is upgrading its facilities, and the Jefferson Center continues to serve as a cultural anchor for live music and performance.
Half an hour to the south, the town of Rocky Mount bought, refurbished and opened the Harvester Performance Center, which now books a steady stream of national acts. In the next county over, the Floyd Country Store is operating under new ownership with renewed dedication to live music. FloydFest, a multi-day music festival, annually attracts crowds of more than 15,000 to see a variety of national touring acts, many of whom eventually return to play smaller regional venues. And across the Roanoke and New River valleys, bars and restaurants regularly open their doors to a wide variety of musical styles.
That’s a dramatic departure since the early ’90s, when Dylan Locke first began booking music in Blacksburg. Since then, he worked at the Jefferson Center for 13 years until 2014, when he left to buy and operate the Floyd Country Store with his wife, Heather Krantz.