– Interviewing Lorraine Halsted –
Upon chatting with Lorraine, administrative and marketing specialist for the Shenandoah Valley Music festival, I came to a conclusion: what rock had I been hiding under that I hadn’t already experienced this amazing event? Imagine if you will, a warm summers day accompanied by beautifully aged music carried on a light breeze. You have your loved ones close by and not a care in the world. Amenities surrounding you include both a pool and pond, as well as wineries and resorts just a few miles off, all encompassed by a breathtaking blue mountain horizon line. You recline back into your chair, located in just the perfect spot to enjoy a beer while soaking up some sun, as you listen to 13 time Grammy winner Emmy Lou Harris serenade you from the stage. It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all year long – welcome to the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival!
Lorraine’s voice is very kind as she breathlessly explains the major artist line-up for 2017.
On Emmy Lou Harris “She’s been a huge country star since the late 70s and she just has this great stage presence that a lot of singers or performers don’t have. She recently turned 70 and is still performing and just as popular as ever!”
On Arlo Guthrie “He’s been with us for about 4-5 years, and the audience just absolutely loves him. We always have a good crowd turnout when [Guthrie] is set to perform. He’s been playing since the 60s – you’ve probably heard his song “Alice’s Restaurant” – and he really embodies what folk and bluegrass music is all about.”
On Piedmont Symphony Orchestra “They really provide a great partnership for the Festival and their themed music really gets people up and dancing! This year they’ll be doing a “Sgt. Pepper & the Summer of Love” theme. Last year their theme was based around the Beatles and it was just excellent – people danced all night and loved it! I’m sure PSO will get people up and dancing again this year, too!”
On Midtown Men “These 4 guys belong to the original cast of Jersey Boys, which is very exciting! They dress in suits – really sharp looking, very polished, and they perform songs from the 50s and 60s which has an entirely different sound compared to the 70s. They’ve got great harmony and great chemistry, and there are no vocals when they perform so I think that says a lot! They’re going to be a real attraction – they’re on their 7th national tour!”
On the Bluegrass Minifest “We’ve got Balsam Range who’ve won over 10 IBMA awards which I think really attests to their amazing music. Band of Ruhks will be playing and their music is amazing, the audience loves them. And then we’ve got After Jack, a band consisting of 3 women who are just vocal powerhouses. They originally sent us some of their YouTube videos and we immediately knew we had to get them to perform at the festival. They’ve got a lot of energy and a really great stage presence!”
“One of the best parts about the music festival this year is our Music Lover’s Getaway package deal. We really wanted to take into consideration the people who come from DC or even further and the fact that they don’t wont to be driving home in the early morning hours. This year, you can purchase a one or two-night deal that includes discounted prices to the weekend concerts, as well as an amazing stay at Shrine Mont! This includes lodging and meals, and guests also get to enjoy tennis courts and pools, as well as Shrine Mont’s outdoor pavilion!”
I was also lucky enough to get to speak to Dennis Lynch, executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, and he was able to fill me in on more details:
Q: How many people usually attend (crowd outcome)?
“Depends on the weather, and depends on the performer. Last year we had the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and they alone pulled in a little over 1200-1250.”
Q: Is there a particular weekend that will stand out from the rest?
“They all stand out! That’s like asking a mom to pick her favorite child! They’re all going to be very unique and memorable – we’re looking forward to all the performers… The national historic landmark (Shrine Mont) – there aren’t too many of these places left, and that alone is worth the trip. The festival and the music are just a bonus!”
Q: Anything else?
“The weather is always fantastic and it never rains during concerts (jokingly). This will be our 54th summer! We’ve been doing this outdoor concert longer than anyone in the Commonwealth – we predate pretty much every other outdoor concert. We started in 1963! We are very proud of that and couldn’t have gotten where we are without support of the community, sponsors, and music lovers.”
If you don’t end up seeing this festival, we here at Go Blue Ridge Travel can honestly say that you will be missing out on one of the best experiences offered this summer. We’ll see you there! To purchase tickets, click here.