Music Festival Feeds Community

Isaac Rowlingson, staff writer


Photography by Isaac Rowlingson

Hundreds of baby boomers gathered round, lounging out after a lifetime of hard work. Their kids are grown and have moved off someplace doing something for some reason. Now hitting retirement age, many of them made the pilgrimage to the Misty Mountain Music Festival nestled in the rolling hills of Crozet, Virginia. “We bring gifts!” hollered one prophet. I saw fold out chairs furnished with cup holders, endless packs of Marlboro Reds, weathered tank tops, and frayed jean shorts among other things in dreamlike flashes. In between these fine lines, free bellies were cooled by a somewhat familiar fresh flowing breeze. I swear I heard somebody say, “It takes me back to Woodstock 1969, oh yes.”

However, the only sounds that carried above the music were the flickering spirits of the bonfire and the restless howls of hound dogs echoing through the vast backwoods night. Roomy is the word to describe the campground; RV’s and trailers were scattered like speckled stars for miles. Children rummaged through the fields and played on the two standard playgrounds and one humongous Jump Pad. Standing in front of the port-a-potties, a shouting middle aged man pointed at his son, “Put your shoes on; you’re not going barefoot in there!” The child sullenly ran back to his comrades while a singer sang about beer.

Blue Mountain Brewery was one of the three prominent sponsors. They have appeared five times throughout the seven year existence of this annual festival, bringing copious amounts of alcohol and German themed Oktoberfest food selections. Another sponsor is Valley CMA Cars, who had several cars on display in the surrounding area. One rather large Jeep Wrangler was shoved right in between the two main stages. A few more Jeeps were strategically placed among the crowd and under the main tent.

Another sponsor was High Peak Sportswear based out of Lynchburg. They do screen-printing, embroidery, and promotional products. They designed this year’s music festival t-shirts and promoted the Friends of 151 clean up crew. Lisa Davis, a sales representative there, said, “It is rare for a music festival to donate all of their proceeds, but this one does, which is cool.”

For the past four years, Misty Mountain has donated to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Karen Ratzlaff, an employee of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, said, “The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank distributes food to people through food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters across 25 counties in the Blue Ridge area of Virginia.” When asked about this particular festival, she replied, “They wanted to have a local impact, so the funds were raised locally, and that’s what this does.” With every dollar contributed, they can provide four meals, and they expect this event to provide around 20,000 meals. Last year in total, they provided 25 million pounds of food to the Blue Ridge Area.

Tommy Proutt, a local musician and performer, said, “I’ve looked forward to playing here for the food bank for a few years now.” A strong feeling of community and purpose among musicians, concert goers, and sponsors pervaded throughout this festival.

One man from out of town elaborated on his personal experience, “I come here every year, man. I love the area, it’s badass. Tomorrow I think I’m gonna go hiking and come back for some brews; it’s a small festival, but it’s gonna be elbow-to-elbow packed tomorrow night.” The support for this local festival is immense. Another man, despite his newly acquired hemorrhoids, toughed out the pain to see some friends perform. This enduring spirit could be caught best backstage, so we crawled under the fence to check it out.

As the night progressed, lights were gliding across the distant trees and dark glade. As I watched them, it seemed as if small bugs began crawling across my forehead. On an old back porch, I sat listening to one band finish their set as another was about to begin. On the table sat cups of beer and platters of nachos slowly draining and disappearing into satisfied stomachs.

The night sky above was endless; the soil below was a timeless freedom. A game of corn hole was set up in a pit and a small hill slowly filled with people. As Tommy was getting ready to play, he bummed a cigarette and said, “Let me get one more drag, and that’s it.” As the torch was passed, I heard a new generation, and it sounded like the wild scream of an untamable electric guitar.

Short URL: http://www.piedmontforum.com/?p=32456

Posted by on Oct 10 2017. Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Events, From the Forum, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed

Recently Commented