Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the community of Orkney Springs, Virginia has a special venue for music goers. Orkney Springs is located about 45 minutes from Harrisonburg and an hour from Winchester. In a short drive, you’ll be able to experience a summer concert series like no other with the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival.
The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival is a “not‐for‐profit performing arts presenter that has been bringing great music to the Valley for more than 50 years.” The Festival’s mission is to bring quality music to the Shenandoah Valley and they hope to inspire people of all ages to make concert going a lasting part of their lives!
The festival presents 8 to 10 concerts each summer from mid-July to Labor Day weekend (beginning of September). For the last 50 years the Festival has been able to bring in some high profile names and states that they strive to bring the best of rock/pop, country, bluegrass, folk and symphonic music. Here are a few notables from recent lineups that I was able to pull from their archives!
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Oak Ridge Boys
US Air Force Strings
Piedmont Symphony Orchestra
And Kris Kristofferson
Most of these artists or bands hail from a country, folk, or bluegrass background. But to add more range to the lineups, classical orchestra components can be found every year! I come from a background in music through high school where I played in the band and jazz ensembles. I have missed the classical tones and rhythms that orchestras can produce. For all the former “band kids” out there, this would be the perfect opportunity to climb back to our roots and experience great performances!
This year’s lineup is no exception to their mission of bringing the best of the best to perform in our small slice of heaven. The bands and artists performing are as follows:
Home Free- Timeless World Tour: July 20th
Piedmont Symphony Orchestra- The Music of Pink Floyd: July 21st
The Temptations: July 27th
Piedmont Symphony Orchestra “Oh, Shenandoah! Music for Your Eyes”:
Mary Chapin Carpenter- with special guest Emily Barker: Aug. 10th
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes- w/ special guest James Maddock:
Kenny G: Sept. 1st
Bluegrass Minifest: Sept. 2nd
(Each concert lasts a few hours depending on how many acts are performing and the length and number of intermissions.)
From the President
I spoke to the SVMF Executive Director and President Mr. Dennis Lynch, and asked him a few questions about his festival and what sets them apart from other music venues.
The SVMF is actually located on the Shrine Mont property that is a National Historic Landmark in Orkney Springs. Mr. Lynch touts that “not many other music venues can say they are located on a National Historic site.”
I was also curious how they are able to get high profile names to appear. Mr. Lynch said they’ve “built a great network of agents and management who have talent who know about us and would like to perform here.” He did emphasize how this is a time sensitive task to get these talents schedules. He related it to “trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with expiring pieces.” I added that I understood completely as you can’t leave a blank space in that puzzle or it wouldn’t look right.
Some other interesting facts that set this festival venue apart from others is the “intimate music setting” that it creates. Seating about 1,800 people if we “squeezed them together,” they have 600 seating in the covered pavilion area and can accommodate more on the lawn of the grounds. The pavilion area is less the 100ft from the stage, so you’re very close to performers and that adds to the intimate atmosphere of the festival.
I asked Mr. Lynch if there was anything he would like me to note in this blog and he said they are working on getting a grant to set up a video component to the performances. This will mark the first year it will be attempted and he is looking forward to how it will turn out. He stated that if you attend one of the concerts with a video component this summer, please let them know what you think and if there might be a way they can improve upon it in the future.
This is a gem in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I would highly suggest checking out their website and buying a ticket to a concert this summer! With all the variety of the artists, there’s sure to be a show for everyone!