Take to the Hills

Get mellow in the mountains at FloydFest 2013.

roger gupta

Drive-By Truckers at FloydFest 2012.

     Every July for the last 12 years, a sea of tie-dye floods an 80-acre plateau in the heart of the Blue Ridge where, for four days, more than 15,000 descend on Floyd for its iconic music festival.

     Begun in 2001, FloydFest attracts an ageless group, from the babes-in-backpacks to the boomer sets who enjoy multiple genres of music from bluegrass to Zydeco (a blend of Cajun, blues and R&B), camp under the stars and experience a family-friendly event that’s more than the sum of its parts.

     “It’s a community,” says Linda DeVito, director of operations. “Our attendees look forward to that every year. They find people like them. They feel comfortable.”

     This year’s festival takes place July 25-28. On 10 stages, more than 100 bands will perform, including The Lumineers, Old Crow Medicine Show and Yonder Mountain String Band—plus new talent like the rollicking Megan Jean and the KFB, who won last year’s Under the Radar contest for new regional acts.

     But, says DeVito, “We want to give our guests more than the music.” There will be taekwondo classes and rockwalls for kids, as well as drum circles, massages and yoga classes for grown-ups.

     Outdoor adventures are also a big part of FloydFest, says DeVito. How about a guided mountain bike journey or a float trip on the New River in a kayak or inner tube? “Some folks want to come and chill,” explains DeVito, “and some want to hike and bike and take the family on the river for the day.”

     But it is definitely the music that keeps people coming back. Emily Prillaman, a guidance counselor with Roanoke City Public Schools, has been to every FloydFest but one. “I look forward to it each year,” she says. “You never know what kind of music you’re going to hear, but you know it’ll be good.” Floydfest.com

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