Lockn’ Music Festival
Summer in Virginia is the time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather. It also happens to be prime festival season. The endless sunny days invites visitors and residents alike to get outside and experience the best of Virginia. While we can’t possible do justice to the over 100 festivals happening around Virginia this summer, we can show you where to find more information about them.
Visit our Summer Festivals page to learn about what exciting events are happening in your area in the next few months.
The 24th annual Grave Mountain Festival of Music is devoted to the best of Virginia’s Bluegrass, Americana, and Roots music. Held at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the festival has over 15 bands that bring the southwest Virginia mountain sound to life, featuring banjos, fiddlers, and vocal harmonies. This year’s acts include Balsam Range, Flatt Lonesome, Willie Watson, Seldom Scene, the Malpass Brothers, and many more stellar country and bluegrass bands. Overnight camping is available, but pets are prohibited from the camping and festival grounds. Ticket prices start at $24 for a one-day pass to $85 for all three days until April 30th, when the three-day pass price rises to $105. Buy Tickets
Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival—Centreville
The Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival in Centreville brings together food, wine, and music from all over the Commonwealth. Try a few of your go-to wines or discover new favorites, with the option to buy bottles and cases to take home and enjoy all summer. There are more than 250 wines from over 50 wineries at this all-you-can-taste event. In addition to wine tastings, the Cooking Kitchen hosts hands-on cooking demonstrations with suggested wine pairings. Tickets range from $30 for a day’s general admission to $69 for one-day VIP tickets. Buy Tickets
Blackbeard Pirate Festival—Hampton
This summer festival recognizes Hampton’s maritime heritage and follows the exploits of the most notorious pirate to ever live, Blackbeard, formally known as Edward Teach. Watch live reenactments that portray the demise of Blackbeard and the history of pirate life during this seafaring period. The Blackbeard Pirate Festival features live entertainment, plenty of activities for the kids, demonstrations of sea battles, and a huge firework show. Best of all, the festival is free for visitors of all ages.
Red Wing Roots Music Festival—Mount Solon
A family-friendly celebration of music, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival features dozens of national and regional bands, events just for the kids, bike rides in the Shenandoah Valley area, and access to hiking trails and fishing around the region. Explore the nearby Grand Caverns in your free time, and then set up camp each night at the on-site grounds, or consider booking a campsite at one of the several other options nearby. This musical event combines nature and live entertainment to create one of the most beautiful annual summer festivals in Virginia.
Established in 2011, HoustonFest pays tribute to Houston Caldwell, a young music lover that passed away in 2010. His musical legacy lives on at this annual festival filled with live entertainment from over 30 bands. In addition to bluegrass and music by youth bands, the festival highlights local foods, artisan goods, and even gives scholarships for musical training and education. Camp Houston, the youth section of the festival, features music and group activities for the kids. Visitors to HoustonFest can stay overnight at the campground area of Felt Park. Proceeds from the festival benefit both the Galax Volunteer Fire Department and local youth music education programs. Get Tickets
Mountains of Music Homecoming—Abingdon
This nine-day, region-wide musical celebration includes concerts in over 30 communities along the historic Crooked Road in Virginia. Plan the ultimate road trip to see over 200 artists and enjoy countless experiences that will teach you about the deep musical roots in our state. Traditional music genres like old time, bluegrass, and gospel music are heavily represented, and the festival is filled with other activities that speak to Virginia’s regional, culinary, and cultural diversity, including community meals, wine tastings, film festivals, historic tours, guided hikes, and storytelling. Several shows already have tickets available, but a full list of performers and ticket sales will be released soon.
Held on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, Norfolk Harborfest attracts a fleet of visiting ships, from yachts to Navy vessels. Thousands of people gather along the coast to watch the impressive Parade of Sails, where the massive fleet of ships head down the river towards Town Point Park. The festival also puts on the largest waterfront firework show on the East Coast. Visitors can do more than just spectate during their visit; there is a build-a-boat contest, boat races, family activities and crafts, live entertainment, and plenty of Virginia food, wine, and craft beer. This is the longest-running free maritime festival, currently in its 40th year, and is free of charge.
The Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival is at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, an area well-known for the three products for which the festival is named. Food vendors serve barbecue, sausage, ham biscuits, fried pork rinds, peanut brittle, peanut pie, and more mouthwatering dishes while live music fills the air. Kids will love the arts and crafts tents, rock climbing wall, inflatable slides, and the petting zoo that lets them take a hands-on approach with adorable farm animals. The festival costs $5 for general admission, but children 10 and under are free. Ticket price includes events, exhibits, parking, and tram rides. Stay tuned to the festival website for more information as the event gets closer.
Shenandoah Valley Music Festival—Orkney Springs
July 22-23, July 29-30, August 12-13, September 3-4
Mid-Atlantic’s longest running outdoor music series, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs began in 1963. It is both affordable and family-friendly, located on the grounds of the Shrine Mont Camp and Conference Center. Bring your own snacks or a picnic and relax as you watch live music acts from the lawn. Past shows include notable bands such as Smash Mouth, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Straight No Chaser, The Oak Ridge Boys, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Temptations, Travis Tritt, and Sam Bush. The lineup for 2016 has yet to be announced. Check back for updates and tickets closer to the festival.
FloydFest is five days of live music, arts, camping, local food, and workshops. More than 100 artisans and crafters come to teach their skills and sell locally made wares. Vendors sell and serve all sorts of food, ranging from sushi to hand-churned ice cream to Virginia barbecue, all washed down with Virginia beverages including wines and craft beers. Outdoor sports are promoted as well, and festival-goers can take a break from the music and merchants to get active, with mountain biking, disc golf, kayaking, and hiking all available to visitors.
Babysitting services and events specifically for kids like puppet shows and playground areas are also provided to ensure that both kid and adults enjoy the festival. This year’s musical guests include Gregg Allman, Keller Williams, Warren Haynes Ashes & Dust, and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. Get Tickets
Old Fiddler’s Convention—Galax
Musicians and visitors come together to hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Old Fiddler’s Convention, the world’s longest running and largest gathering of professional and amateur fiddlers, currently in its 81st year as a festival. Professional fiddlers, banjo players, guitarists, bands, and other bluegrass musicians compete for cash prizes and the glory of being named a top musician at the festival. Stay tuned for ticket sales.
Richmond Jazz Festival—Richmond
Held at Maymont, the 7th annual Richmond Jazz Festival brings a dynamic, lively atmosphere to the Richmond area. Over 10,000 fans gather each year for appetizing cuisine, Virginia craft beers and wines, and some of the most famous names in Jazz, funk, and blues. In addition to the musical acts at Maymont, there are also preview events held at the Hippodrome Theater, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Hardwood Park Craft Brewery the week before. This is the premiere cultural destination for music lovers. Tickets have not yet been released, but stay tuned on their website for updates.
Staunton Music Festival–Staunton
At the Staunton Music Festival, 60 of the world’s most acclaimed classical musicians perform at over 20 concerts over a nine day period in August. This is the 18th annual festival, and each day begins with a free concert at noon, followed by ticketed festivals in the evenings held at historic venues throughout Staunton. The festival kicks off with a “Midsummer Ball” that includes a dinner, dancing, Cabaret-style Theater, and a live concert. There are pre-concert talks where the expert musicians will talk about their experience with classical, special offers from downtown restaurants and hotels, and daily events that make this an amazing town-wide festival experience. Get Tickets
Lockn’ Music Festival—Arrington
Formerly known as Interlocken, Lockn’ Music Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington is four days full of excellent music, stellar camping, outdoor activities, regional foods, beverages, and handcrafted goods. Bring your bikes or come prepared to hike, as this festival is at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For something a little more soothing, attend one of the free yoga classes offered by one of the local yoga studios. Lockn’ brings jam bands, country music, and classic rock acts together for one unforgettable show. Past bands include Tom Petty, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh, and Carlos Santana. Phish, My Morning Jacket, Lettuce, Ween, and Keller’s Grateful Grass are all playing at Lockn’ this year, with many more bands to be announced before the festival. Buy Tickets
Virginia’s Craft Brewers Festival—Roseland
Held at Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Virginia’s Craft Brewers Festival draws more than 60 breweries each year. The festival combines food trucks, beer, and entertainment, including live music and yard games, from around Virginia. Visitors looking to make it an overnight trip can book tent and RV camping available adjacent to the festival. Tickets sold out before the festival last year and interest has only grown, so make sure you purchase well ahead of time for this annual summer event. The new festival website is currently under construction but will be updated as soon as new information is available.
American Music Festival—Virginia Beach
The American Music Festival happens right on the sands of the Virginia Beach oceanfront, bringing varying music genres, including rock, jazz, blues, country, R&B, together for one festival over Labor Day Weekend. This is the largest outdoor musical event on the East Coast, with a mix of local, regional, and national acts appearing at four concert stages. While one is ticketed, the other three stages are free of charge. There are also additional small side stages that feature local artists. This year’s lineup has not yet been released, but previous acts include the Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys, Kansas, Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie & the Blowfish, Zac Brown Band, Boyz II Men, ZZ Top, Sheryl Crow, and Stone Temple Pilots. Check back for ticket updates as the festival gets closer.
Whether you are into wine tasting, sampling brews made in the Commonwealth, or listening to live music with deep Virginia roots, these twelve summer festivals are just a sampling of the excellent events you should add to your post-Memorial Day calendar. Which summer festival are you most excited for this year?
© pkeppel for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2016. |