Shenandoah Valley Music Festival celebrates 60 years

One of the country’s longest-running—and under-the-radar cool—multi-genre music festivals just turned 60. The four-weekend, outdoor summer concert series launched in 1963 at the Massanutten Military Academy and is now held near the West Virginia border from July 19 through Sept. 1 on the grounds of the 1,100-acre Shrine Mont retreat center, which is home to the historic Orkney Springs Hotel in Basye. 

Founder Dennis Lynch calls the festival venue—a grassy 600-person pavilion area nestled high in the Alleghany Mountains amid stands of mature hardwoods and evergreens—paramount to its success.

“There’s something magical about this place,” says Lynch. “We’re way out in the wilderness … and I think that lets the artists and crowd focus on the music in a way that’s hard to replicate.”  

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Valley Music

Headliners for the 2024 season include Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Dionne Warwick, The Guess Who, and the Oak Ridge Boys, with additional acts to be finalized in the coming months. Past acts have included a hit-parade of greats like The Temptations, Emmylou Harris, Arlo Guthrie, Smash Mouth, World Famous Count Basie Orchestra, and more. MusicFest.org


This article originally appeared in the Best of Virginia 2024 issue.

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