The Festy Experience (Photo by Tom Daly)
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (June 7-10)
Brave the Bonnaroo elements—dust, heat and the crowd of 80,000—and you’ll be rewarded with an incomparable musical overload. The multiple stages on the grounds of the 700-acre farm in Manchester—about an hour southeast of Nashville—feature a range of sounds from rock legends to all-night electronica throwdowns. Best bets this year include the festival return of Radiohead—finely tuned from being well into their King of Limbs tour—and an opening night headlining slot for soul revivalists Alabama Shakes. Local bluegrass heroes The Infamous Stringdusters will be warming up the Other Tent at 2pm on Friday.
Virginia Blues and Jazz Festival in Warm Springs (June 15-17)
Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains near the West Virginia border, the Garth Newel Music Center hosts this relaxed three-day jazz and blues fest. Friday and Sunday feature intimate indoor shows, while Saturday is the main event with multiple bands on an outdoor stage. Acts this year include blues legend the Robert Cray Band, Grupo Fantasma, Honey Island Swamp Band and Catherine Russell.
Summer Solstice Wine Festival in Amherst (June 23-24)
Enjoy some local vino and live tunes at this new festival that’s taking place at Lazy Days Winery in Amherst. Eight wineries from the local area will be pouring grape, while Sarah White and the Pearls and Borrowed Beams of Light take the stage.
Mineral Bluegrass Festival in Mineral (July 19-21)
If mighty fine pickin’ and singin’ is your thing, head to Walton Park in Mineral for a long weekend of traditional bluegrass. The high lonesome sound will be ringing through the trees with sets from Ralph Stanley II, Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice and Goldwing Express.
All Good Music Festival in Thornville, Ohio (July 19-22)
This pinnacle of jam band gatherings will relocate from its longstanding location in West Virginia and set up camp at Legend Valley in Ohio. With new digs, organizers are going big with a line-up that includes the Allman Brothers Band, Phil Lesh and Friends, The Flaming Lips and a special trio set that includes Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis.
FloydFest in Floyd (July 26-29)
During the last weekend of July, a pastoral piece of land just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near the small town of Floyd ignites into an increasingly large roots music carnival. The line-up this year boasts a range of sounds from the mellow newgrass of Alison Krauss and Union Station to the conscious hip-hop of Michael Franti and Spearhead to the raucous Dixie rock of the Drive-By Truckers.
Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax (August 6-11)
Started back in 1935, the Old Fiddler’s Convention annually brings out quick-fingered string pickers from Appalachia and beyond to compete for prize money and show off their chops in the small town of Galax. If you can’t get enough fiddle and banjo, this is the fest for you.
Misty Mountain Music Festival in Greenwood (September 28-29)
A growing celebration of the local music scene, this two-day festival takes place at Misty Mountain Camp Resort. This year’s line-up will feature the old school jams of Indecision, the fiery blues licks of Eli Cook, Kathryn Caine, Second Draw, Travis Elliot Band and many more.
The Festy Experience in Nelson County (October 5-7)
Curated and headlined by aforementioned local pickers The Infamous Stringdusters, The Festy features an eclectic mix of roots music, this year set to include the high-energy slam-grass of Leftover Salmon and the punk-charged strings of Trampled by Turtles. Taking place on the scenic grounds surrounding Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson County, the weekend also includes organized trail running and mountain bike races.
Richmond Folk Festival in Richmond (October 12-14)
A crowd of 200,000 flocks annually to Richmond’s downtown riverfront for this fall bash highlighting folk music, art and storytelling. The line-up has yet to be announced but expect plenty of singing and strumming as well as an array of rock and world music.