Rev. Zicka-Funk’s recommended remedies for festival fever in the mid-Atlantic

Floyd Fandango, All Good, Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ & FloydFest all prescribed!
July 3-4 - Floyd Fandango Beer and Wine Festival - Blue Cow Pavilion Floyd, VA
Featuring: Sam Bush, Goose Creek Symphony, My Dear Disco, DJ Williams Projekt, Dangermuffin
Two years running and Floyd Fandango is rapidly becoming an Independence Day tradition. The 2-day campout is a choice destination for beer and wine aficionados seeking top-shelf libations and a great spot to shake some tail feather. Fandango features over 25 breweries and wineries from around the region and a smoking music itinerary.

Held on the FloydFest grounds, camping is permitted and designated driving packages are available to those who opt out of the tasting ceremonies. All Across the Way Productions events are designed to accommodate a family atmosphere, so don't miss out for lack of a baby sitter.

July 9-11 - 14th Annual All Good Music Festival - Marvin's Mountaintop Masontown, WV
Featuring: Furthur with Phil Lesh & Bob Weir, Widespread Panic, Umphrey's McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band, Dark Star Orchestra, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic and much more.
As one of the longest running jam-centric festivals on the East Coast, All Good consistently delivers solid, no-filler music, top of the line production and good vibes. Not without setbacks, the festival has steadily edged its way to the level of success that it currently enjoys today. Festival organizers attribute a large part of the ongoing success of the festival to the support and feedback from the audience.

"Each year, we send out a survey to our fans asking for their input, we review their responses and make improvements based on their feedback. Beyond that, we have always had a slow growth concept starting with less than 1,000 in attendance at our 1st all good", says Tim Walther - visionary talent buyer and namesake of the Baltimore based Walther Productions. "We look to strengthen our lineup each year, improve the production, and to enhance the fan's experience by tweaking our operations and upgrading our services and the amenities that we offer."  

This summer, All Good will feature 21 new artists out of 40 acts on the roster with no overlapping sets, which allows the fans to experience every minute of every performance. Other highlights for this year's event include a more dynamic light show, new LED Screens, upgraded port-a-john services, additional crowd performers and a slew of other surprises. For the first time ever, the Dragon Stage - or main stage in the main concert area - will now host the Thursday night sets, allowing fans more room to shake their bones.

The All Good Festival strives to give back to the local community through various philanthropic efforts. Walther presents a star-studded Rex Jam through The Rex Foundation to raise money for the local high school music program. The festival collects canned goods through Conscious Alliance and donates the goods to a local food pantry (boasting as much as 7,200 pounds of food.) AG makes sizeable donations to other national non-profit organizations such as, Headcount, Rock the Earth and the local Volunteer Fire Department.

Crafting musical magic is a tenuous endeavor for Walther's production team, though he admits all of the work pays off when he arrives on site 10 days prior to the event and is privileged to witness the grassy fields of Marvin's Mountaintop grow into a loving and thriving community of like-minded folks.

"We first set out to put on a festival where everyone from the bands to the fans to the staff could have the best time possible", says Walther. "Life is short and everyone deserves a time and space where they can let their hair down, be one with the scene and community and have a hassle free good time."

July 17 - 5th Annual Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ Festival - Elmwood Park
Featuring: Matt "Guitar" Murphy with the Nouveaux Honkies, Sean Chambers, Labron Lazenby & L.A. 3
The Blue Ridge Blues Society presents another round of screaming blues and lip-smackin' BBQ. The festival is slated to feature legendary Blues-man Matt "Guitar" Murphy of the Blues Brothers and Chess Records fame. Nearly five years removed from the festival's humble beginnings on Historic Henry St., the Blue Ridge Blues and BBQ Festival has grown into a formidable vehicle for Blues music in Southwest Virginia.

"The idea was to create an outlet to present this true American art-form known as The Blues, to give the people of Southwest Virginia who are already Blues fans a good dose of Blues and to expose the music to others who just don't know that they are Blues fans yet", says president and founder of the Blue Ridge Blues Society, Kerry Hurley. "The festival has grown significantly in numbers, both financially and in attendance. We learn how to do it better every year, there's always something you can improve on."

This year's festivities kick off with 10 area bands competing to represent the BRBS in the 2011 International Blues Challenge, followed by stellar performances by 2010 IBC Finalists Labron Lazenby & L.A. 3, Sean Chambers and power-blues combo, the Nouveaux Honkies.

"We hope that every year we can get artists with bigger names to bring in more people. I hope to one day be able to book B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray or the likes", says Hurley. "I feel we are getting closer to the mark every year, we just need to stay on course and continue to do it for the right reason - the music. I believe that Blues music deserves to be heard and appreciated. I think that it is an important part of our culture and the festival gives us a chance to celebrate that."

The Blues Society donates a portion of the Blue Ridge Blues & BBQ festival's proceeds to the Music Lab at Jefferson Center. To date, the BRBS has made cumulative donations approaching $10,000 to the Music Lab and hopes to carry on that tradition again this year.

July 22-25 - FloydFest 9 - Breaking Ground - Floyd, VA
Featuring: Levon Helm Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Galactic, Railroad Earth, JJ Grey & Mofro, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Soulive and much more.
In less than a decade, Floydfest has emerged as the definitive family camping and outdoor concert experience in the Mid-Atlantic. Floydfest stays true to its fit for all approach towards the programming, touting 8 stages, a beer and wine garden and the ever-popular Children's Universe. Key hallmark traits of FloydFest in season's past, have been the sheer diversity of the performers and its spotlight on world music. Breaking Ground's musical assembly is no exception to the rule drumming up a notably more aggressive roster than previous efforts.

"Every year that the Festival is going on, I pay close attention to the audience and the crowd in general, observing how they're interacting to one another and the music. I then study the trends in what the audience wants and needs. Doing this, along with investigating the Festival scene in general keeps me one step ahead and ready to implement the freshest program possible. Our audience expects something unique and special each year so I'm always on my toes", says Kris Hodges - chief think tank and driving force behind Across the Way Productions.

FF9 will unveil its innovative, new landscape installment called the Performing Art Space, which will feature Flam Chen - an eclectic theater troupe from Tucson Arizona that performs routines 100' in the air, suspended by a group of helium balloons. AtWP staff is cooking up a bevy of other surprises that are under close wraps until the Festival.

"The concept behind the "Breaking Ground" theme speaks to the difficulty in cultivating any idea in such bizarre times and with no money. It's been 9 years since we planted the seed that is FloydFest. There have been many trials and growing pains for us along the way and in the world generally", says Hodges. "We now see that FF is firmly rooted and truly Breaking Ground. It's amazing what by hardworking individuals who bring integrity and vision to their efforts can be achieve. It's even better when large groups of people relate and respond to it! FloydFest to me proves that one can achieve anything that one sets their mind to. It's great to see the initial vision come to fruition and I'm very proud of that. You won't find a cleaner, happier and more tolerant and diverse event and audience anywhere. It proves that large gatherings can be enriching to one's life and that the joyful experience that one has at the Festival continues long after the last note has been played."

- By Brian Zickafoose