July 25, 2016
There is a mountain not far from the North Carolina border in Floyd, Virginia that people flock to the last weekend in July. FloydFest is not your typical music and arts festival. Described by Producer and CEO, Kris Hodges, as “non-hype roots music that delivers soul-wrenching, heart-drenching performances every time,” FloydFest sets itself apart from the oversaturated weekend music parties littered across the United States by following a simple list of guidelines. 1.) Keep it small 2.) Be genuine, be kind, be unique 3.) Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. By these rules FloydFest has recently acquired accolades from TIME Magazine and Fox News though loyal festival goers have known about the magic on the mountain since 2002.
The best part about Floyd are the things you don’t even think of because they are naturally a part of the festival. “There is real sense of community,” said Lindsay Newsome, FloydFest vendor coordinator. “The local art, vibe and environment are all unmatched but by far the thing that I most appreciate is the food.”
FloydFest takes great pride and care into bringing festival lovers the best the area has to offer in food and beverage. Local produce is delivered daily to the festival by Wood’s Produce. Red Rooster Coffee Roasters, another Floyd gem, has a permanent coffee shack on the property where baristas serve locally roasted coffee, lattes, espresso and other caffeinated treats all weekend long.
As a rule I like to try as many new things as possible but I do have my favorites. Probably the most Instagrammed food item at FloydFest is The Veggie Thing (cover photo). It’s not a good idea to come to the mountain and miss this vegetarian delight. A fresh mix of cheeses and veggies in a large warm pita hand delivered to your face in a tin foil wrap, The Veggie Thing can be seen toted from stage to stage as a conveniently packaged and scrumptious meal.
Goatocado is another must at Floyd. Freshly stacked bowls of quinoa, veggies and herbs are ideal for midday meals. Eating healthy at a festival is difficult for so many reasons. Goatocado makes is easy to chose a healthier option while out in the sun all day. Their mac and cheese is pretty stellar if you are looking to catch a small snack. Don’t forget to “get your Goat on” while dreamweavin’ on the mountain.
As the sun starts to set and your appetite tells you that you’re craving needs to be soothed by something comforting, remember The Pie Guy. This cat makes Australian-style pies that sell out in no time. Get in this line for sure! The Sydney is the go to menu item for me. Chicken and mushroom in a dijon cream sauce wrapped up in a flakey golden crust. Best eaten while sitting in the grass, in my opinion.
There is something new at FloydFest every year and I am super stoked to try Fats Spoon Café. Apparently these guys are having 20+ heirloom tomato varieties grown nearby the venue to bring their private dining and supper club flavors to the mountain. This, plus Gregg Allman could have been the only two reasons to make the trip. But wait … there’s more.
Mann Sausage Company, a family-owned and -operated business since 2010, will also be cooking up so local goodness at Floyd. The Mann family started making homemade sausages in the early 1900s so they have really perfected the craft. I cannot wait to try these lean smoked pork sausages that will be made fresh daily just for the festival.
There’s a lot more to offer at FloydFest, including some with unique settings and truly delectable offerings. The Pink Floyd Beer and Wine Garden Stage is a great place to hang out and see acts in a more intimate setting. Swinging by Dogtown Roadhouse for a brick oven pizza on the way in to catch a craft beer and a show is the go-to move when it’s time to take a cool break from the music.
Nested in the Blue Ridge Mountains there is a gathering of people each July. They come to be apart of something. They come to be with friends and listen to really great music. They come to eat the offerings of the area’s best fare. It could be mainstream. It could be a novelty. It could be easy, fast, boring food. But then it wouldn’t be FloydFest.
“When you strip away the hype, what’s left is the core or soul of anything. No roots. No tree. It’s simple,” said Hodges. This idea rings true from the stages to the kitchens at FloydFest. Take me back to Floyd! I’m ready to eat.
Check out the full list of vendors at FloydFest 2016