fbpx

A Letter to FloydFest

 

I came late to the festival scene. My first was the Charm City Music Fest in Baltimore in April 2015 – and I was instantly hooked. My husband and I went on a whim, as a little getaway from our home in DC, separate from our three teenage boys. But the music, the relaxed vibe, and the easygoing people grabbed me in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

I started following individual bands and going to local shows every chance I could. We hit Charm City in 2016, 2017 and 2018 – and, by then, we had multiple people tell me I HAD to go to FloydFest. As an avid non-camper, I was reluctant; then I discovered glamping :). Knowing someone else would set up – and more importantly, carry – the gear for me was enough. We booked our tickets in early March 2018.

While I was seriously not sure about it all as we dragged our suitcases, large cooler, and groceries from the car to the school bus, then the school bus to our tent – along the bumpiest road in the history of the universe – my stress and concerns all quickly evaporated as soon as we dropped our gear and made our way to the main drag and into the FloydFest vibe.

Thus began three of the best days of my life. Being on top of that mountain, surrounded by nothing but beauty and love and some of the best music I’ve ever heard was a balm to my city-girl soul. While we were only there a short time, I’m taken back there every time I hear – or better yet, see – one of the fabulous musicians we heard there.

In 2019, we made a return visit, this time with two friends who loved it as much as we did. We bought tickets for 2020 on the first day they were on sale – and are thrilled that four friends will be joining us this year.

As a wife, mom, and business owner approaching midlife – and not sure what this next stage will bring – I’m thrilled to have discovered FloydFest and the whole festival scene. It’s exhilarating and calming at the same time to anticipate and enjoy the whole experience – and know it will be there every year. So thank you, FloydFest!!

A Letter to FloydFest

Floydfest. It is difficult to put into words what my feelings are about this magical week on the mountain. I have been coming to Floydfest, with my husband and son, since 2015. It is the one time of year where I feel completely in tune with the universe. The people, music, and art fill my soul with joy. It isn’t just a place, it is a state of mind. It is a beautiful feeling of oneness with the people who call FloydFest home for one enchanting week.

FloydFest is an amazing experience for families with children. My son was 2 years old the first time that we attended the festival and it is something that he looks forward to every year. The Children’s Universe is absolutely amazing. I am so grateful that Floydfest caters so much to children and families. Last summer, when we were leaving the festival site for the last time to go home, my son turned and looked at me and said, “I’m going to miss this place”. Me to buddy. Me too.

So until next time, we will carry the love and joy of Floydfest in our hearts. Looking forward to many more summers of making memories on the mountain.

Wendy Peters

Olivia’s Letter to FloydFest

These were taken two Floydfests ago during Floydfest Wild in 2018. My best friends (Janelle Muuse and Samantha Erbach) and me (Olivia Hoover) are in them. It was our first festival and vacation with all of us together. We have never camped on our own before. We all shared a big tent and spent the weekend in a blissful state of relaxation. We made friends with our middle-aged lady neighbors who became of festival “moms.” They helped set up our hammock. We had so much fun jamming out to Foster the People, Greta Van Fleet, Antibalas, and the Buffalo Mountain Jam. We shared a lot of laughs and happy tears. We also danced a lot! I will never forget our time!

Thanks,
Olivia

 

A Letter to FloydFest

Special isn’t the word; It doesn’t even come close. Magical, yes, but there’s so much more. I feel like I live for those five nights, and almost six days, up there on that mountain. It is my annual soul-cleanse. It is what washes all the year’s baggage, bitterness, worries, and fears away. When I leave, I am completely renewed. My soul is filled, and I am complete again. I feel new, refreshed, and ready to face the world with all the love I need to get me through the year. You have an impact on people like I’ve not yet witnessed anywhere. From torn and weary we become full and complete; I witness this transformation year after year. There are no boundaries up there on that mountaintop, nothing that separates me from the next person. My heart is your heart, and we are all connected as one. You are a beautifully woven network of people who seem to share a common mission: to love for the sake of love. Your love comes in many forms and provides me with a real sensation that moves me in unspeakable ways. This love is illustrated by the expressions of your people, all around the campgrounds and surrounding your many stages. It’s written on the faces of many, young and old, who have come together to celebrate in pure bliss. We are free again. It is amazing. These raw and pure emotions are so inspiring, I try to carry them with me as I leave, for as long as I can. And throughout the rest of my year, in this world that can be so dark and so bitter, I reflect when I need to remember my peaceful place, right back on top of that mountain. I travel back to where I am free. There is no judgement, no separation, nothing that makes me feel like I need to compete, or to be any better, or to be anything other than exactly who I was created to be. I feel grounded again in my purpose. I thank you for this opportunity, year in and year out, when you open your gentle arms and embrace me, holding me and shaping me until I am “me” again. I am blessed.

FloydFest: The Magical Musical Mountain Festival

Most music festivals are marathons and more days equal a longer and more satisfying marathon in the end. Personally, I love music festivals and generally fly solo, so I don’t have to lead nor follow anyone else. It works out better that way for everyone because I have been known to just get up and leave a performance and roll on to something else without notice. Many of my friends get crazy at the first sign of a schedule and immediately break out a highlighter to figure out all the bands most wanted and then all the overlaps and whatnots. One cannot do it all and at my age I must pace everything, including sun, heat, beer, time on feet, time on seat, enough water, enough food, enough rest, extracurriculars, etc. Even expert festival veterans can forget the rules of survival at a four or five-day music festival. Been there done that. 

Every music festival requires a ton of magic in the background to create the magic for everyone in attendance to make more magic and spend it around the festival. The people who put together the music festivals are amazing magicians who spend countless hours and determination to make the experience and magical musical adventure for all who participate. The musical magicians share the magical vibe with all who attend so new magicians are created and continue to spread even more magic. Throughout my concert life I have attended many music festivals: Great Big Ones, Little Ones, Medium Ones, All Genres, All Scenes, and All Kinds of People from All Over the World. Everyone seems to have a different reason to attend a multi-day music festival. Some love the music, some love the scene, some love the friends and smiling faces, some like getting wasted, but all seem to love the freedom of getting away from day to day reality.

The most magical music festival I have attended is FloydFest, off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, just an hour or so south of Roanoke. There are special things about FloydFest I can describe and quite a few things that are unexplainable unless one is there as a participant. First, as noted, the amazing production crew who put the incredible effort to make it beautiful and easy to navigate, line up some of the most eclectic bands, artists, activities, vendors, and so much more. FloydFest 2018 will be my fifth and certainly not my last. From Bluegrass to Rock n Roll to Funky Space jams, one can follow one’s ear and find magic. One year I walked around with a notebook and asked people to write one sentence about why he/she loves the festival. Many answers were similar. Most popular theme: FloydFest is an escape from day to day life located in a perfectly peaceful, safe, and spirit nurturing environment. FloydFest is a spirit nurturing festival. One can get worn out by the “marathon” but totally refreshed on so many levels.

Not to say anything, but I get an awful lot of hugs at FloydFest. It is a HugFest, let me tell you. Everyone just seems ecstatic to be there and have a blast with likeminded folks. There are people from all walks of life and the people watching is ample entertainment, but remember, everyone is the entertainment. YOU ARE THE ENTERTAINMENT! There are many stereotypes one can put on others, but the common denominator regarding the love of music and freedom shatters all labels. One doesn’t see Hollywood celebrities mugging for their film crew or a bunch of folks posturing for attention. FloydFest attendees seem to “get it” more than most festival crowds. People are aware and conscientious. People seem to enjoy the challenge of pitching in to help another festival goer or the festival itself. One can always find help around the festival because it doesn’t long for the attendees to become an auxiliary part of the staff. Everyone really seems unselfish, accessible and kind. Last year, for example, my daughter forgot to bring a towel (no comment) and needed mine. After two days and a pit check, I needed a shower and as I was walking to my daughter’s tent to get the already used and nasty towel, a couple approached about my tie-dyed pants. After complimenting my pants, they stated that they were official FloydFest towel vendors and offered me two medium sized Turkish cotton towels. I never mentioned that I was walking to my daughter’s tent to get a towel…ever. Boom! Magic.

So…after 48 years on this Earth and hundreds on concerts and festivals, I believe FloydFest truly leads the pack and ranks number one for great music festivals. It is the most mellow and friendly. Not too big and not too small. Lots of activities. Lots of familiar faces. Eclectic bands representing many genres of music and performance. FloydFest doesn’t just talk “family friendly”, they live it. Kids of all ages have a blast and plenty to do from morning until well into the night. I’m the last one who wants to see FloydFest grow into a mess of overcrowding and commercialism, but I would at least like the world to know what an amazing magical music festival lives in a little nook in Virginia we call home. The magic and the cosmic pull of FloydFest is undeniable and the spiritually growth can last and last until the next year.

X