Dreamweavin’, A Preview of FloydFest and 10 Can’t-Miss Acts

By Ashley Armstrong

July 21, 2016

A musical wonderland tucked away on the Blue Ridge Parkway, there is no better way to describe FloydFest. Located in the quaint town of Floyd, Virginia, this festival merges generations and genres to create a kaleidoscope of all things awesome. The event, which takes place from July 27-31, features over 100 artists on nine stages over a five days. This year’s lineup is arguably the best so far, including artists like Warren Haynes, Gregg Allman, Shakey Graves, The Wood Brothers, and many more.

FloydFest offers a unique festival experience, both exciting and laid back all at once. You can bring your kids for a family-fun week or party all night at the Pink Floyd Stage. During the day, the grounds are alive with bands, vendors, food stands, and acrobatic acts. Shop for unique merch at the Art Village or sample the many brews in the Beer Garden. The world is your oyster. (If you need me, I’ll be at Sugar Shack eating a “Breakfast Thing” the size of my face.)

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, Floydfest also has you covered. Wanna get zen? You can start the day in peace with open floor yoga or meditation. You can hike the scenic mountain trails or enjoy some whitewater rafting, and activities such as biking, disc golf, and 5k races are also available. If you would rather lay low during the day, FloydFest’s Eno Village has hammocks set up for all to enjoy. Swing away, friends!

Now let’s talk music. Here are ten acts you shouldn’t miss while you’re at FloydFest:

Shakey Graves

FRIDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
6:15pm to 7:30pm

Ferrum Workshop Porch
4:15pm to 5:15pm

When it comes to musicians to catch, this man takes the top of the list. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Shakey Graves perfectly combines smoky blues with Southern rock ‘n’ roll. His one-man-band setup consists of a guitar, a tambourine, and a makeshift suitcase kickdrum, all of which he plays at once. His most recent album And The War Came was released in 2014, leading him to win Best Emerging Artist at the Americana Music Awards in 2015.

Gregg Allman

SATURDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
10:30pm to 12:00am

The legend himself. Gregg Allman, founder of The Allman Brothers band, will be blessing the Dreaming Creek main stage. The singer/songwriter is an icon of not only blues music, but music in general. Grammy award winning, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, and “Living Legend” recipient from Classic Rock Magazine, his show will not be one to miss. 

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats 

THURSDAY
Streamline Stage at Hill Holler
12:00am to 1:15am

Get ready to get down. Nathaniel Rateliffe and The Night Sweats is a deep-fried rock ‘n’ roll band from Missouri. They have a soulful Southern sound with an energy that cannot be topped. Songs like “S.O.B” are made for dancing, so rest up before this one.

Warren Haynes 

SATURDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
8:15pm to 9:30pm

Another living legend on the list. Guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band and founding member of Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes has an impressive musical resume. His smooth vocals cut you deep and his lyrics bleed you dry– all in the best way. His song “Soulshine” is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time, so here’s to hoping we get to hear it.

The Wood Brothers

FRIDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
8:15pm to 9:30pm
SATURDAY
Streamline Stage at Hill Holler
7:15pm to 8:15pm
Ferrum Workshop Porch
4:00pm to 5:00pm

Yet another personal favorite on the list. Brothers Chris and Oliver Wood teamed up with Jano Rix to create a folk band that will break your heart. Paste calls them the “masters of soulful folk,” and with good reason. Songs like “Luckiest Man” and “Postcards From Hell” are undeniably impressive, both musically and lyrically. Their July 3 show at Charlotte’s U.S. National Whitewater Center was unbelievable. I’m excited for you to see them live.

Nahko and The Medicine People

FRIDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
10:30pm to 12:00am

This band accurately describes their music as a multi-generational, multicultural, and redemptive healing force. The band serves up a tasty platter of hip-hop, folk, tribal, and jazz to create a sound that is uniquely their own. Nahko and The Medicine People overflow with a spirit that can be seen from the stage. Their overall goal is to change the world, and you can feel it in their music. If you want to experience something new, be sure to see them on the main stage.

Railroad Earth

THURSDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
10:30pm to 12:00am

While they have a song titled “Hard Livin’,” Railroad Earth’s music is anything but. The band’s sound is perfect for FloydFest’s laidback atmosphere. With some mandolin, violin, guitar, and drums, topped off with lead singer Todd Sheaffer’s excellent vocals, Railroad Earth expertly combines bluegrass and jam. Their musical arrangements keep the crowd coming back for more. You can’t have a bad time at a Railroad Earth concert– it’s science.

Greensky Bluegrass

SUNDAY
Dreaming Creek Main Stage
3:15pm to 4:30pm

These guys are a bluegrass lover’s dream. Greensky Bluegrass is five-piece band from Kalamazoo that can and will tear it up onstage. They’ve got everything you need: dobro, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, all the works. With lyrics as creative as their name and a contagious energy, they rank as one of my all-time favorites. They have a knack for improvisation, so there’s no preparing for what you will hear. All you can prepare for is to have a damn good time.

Dead 27s

THURSDAY
Streamline Stage at Hill Holler
5:15pm to 6:15pm
FRIDAY
Streamline Stage at Hill Holler
3:00pm to 4:00pm

Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, Dead 27s is good time rock ‘n’ roll. In 2013, the band scored Charleston City Paper Music Awards for “Song of the Year,” “Rock Band of the Year,” and “Up-and-Coming Artist of the Year.” Since then, the group has continued to live up to those titles and play around the country, winning over the hearts of crowds near and far. For a good time, grab a drink and your dancing shoes and head to Hill Holler. You won’t be disappointed.

The Hip Abduction

Friday and Saturday

Funky. So damn funky. I saw these guys perform at the North Carolina Brewers & Music Festival and I fell in love. The group is an afro-pop/ indie-rock band that utilizes African stringed instruments to create a high energy, earthy sound. There is a reason you’ll find them on FloydFest’s “On The Rise” artist list. This band is definitely going places, so check them out now and watch them take off.

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