The Missionaries

The Missionaries Say Farewell

Beloved Roanoke band and indie staple, the Missionaries, will be playing their final show this Friday at The Spot on Kirk. The event will be presented by The Bazaar, a combination record and retail shop, coffee/tea café, and music venue created, owned and operated by former Missionaries band member Jamie Booker. The store recently gained status as a non-profit, enabling the funds from its retail storefront to provide space and opportunity for musicians and artists to share their creations with the community. Booker and The Bazaar’s dedication to fostering and cultivating artistic expression in SW Virginia, is something we are particularly grateful for here at Blue Ridge Rocks. And it is in this moment of appreciation for Jaime, and with my fond memories of so many Missionaries shows, that I recognize the positive influence that dedication has had on their band.

It was an attitude that sprang from its founding member, Seanmichael Poff, and quickly spread, finding its way into the hearts of each and every band member that would join them on their decade-long journey. You could always depend on two things from a Missionaries show. First, their set would be killer. Secondly, other impressive bands would almost always be on the bill along with them. Often these were groups that you would not see playing at any other local venues. Missionaries members not only encouraged and shared the stage with the traveling artists, but even hosted them, often in their own homes. Their commitment to bringing in these special acts supplied the Roanoke Valley with a fresh vibe and expanded the music scene greatly.

Chris Shepard

Artist Snapshot: Chris Shepard

“Performing live is a hot, sweaty mess that gets me high, when it’s working right. The more I do it, the more I want to. I’m influenced by everything I hear, but mostly by blues, King’s X, the Beatles, Soundgarden, Primus, Mr. Bungle, Led Zeppelin … the list goes on. My first vocal influence was Lou Gramm of Foreigner. Then, I went on to Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult, Chris Cornell and Mike Patton, but my biggest influence is Doug Pinnick of King’s X. My favorite performance memory has to be watching Albert Bouchard, of Blue Oyster Cult, playing cowbell on my song, “Kitties” as I meowed the lyrics, while wearing a goalie mask.”

Rooster Walk

Festival Faces

“We recently found out we are pregnant, but still wanted to come out and experience Rooster Walk. The layout is grand. The stages are well spaced and there are lots of woods for hammocks and comfortable camping. It’s great when a festival really seems to have it together. We’re especially digging the grassy backbone here. There’s been a lot of good variety in the music, but we mainly came for Tauk and Lettuce. Both banks are super funky and we’ve been digging them for years. Shuffle, play, repeat … just can’t seem to get enough. Those cats will bring us back every time.”

Festival Faces

Festival Faces

We absolutely love festivals. That’s what we do with in our spare time, we go to music festivals. Every year for Christmas, Charlie gets two VIP passes to FloydFest and a camping pass. There isn’t any trip or international vacation we could go on and have more fun. Rooster Walk has been fantastic too.The location is beautiful and the music is phenomenal. I absolutely love Larry Keel and I really want to try and book him this year for our annual Halloween party. Depending on good I am, I might be able to pull that off. We’ll see!

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!