Appaloosa Festival features 20 bands this weekend

The Warren Sentinel

FRONT ROYAL — Music will be in the air this holiday weekend as 20 bands are set to take Skyline Ranch Resort by storm for the third annual Appaloosa Music Festival.

Local band Scythian founded the event after befriending many musicians and observing how good music festivals operate while nationally touring for 15 years, Appaloosa Media Manager Brian Lohmann said.

They combined their connections with other bands and took the best aspects of their favorite festivals to create Appaloosa.

"They thought, 'we would like to build this, make it community oriented, make it family friendly, do all the heavy lifting ourselves, do it in our hometown,'" Lohmann said.

The music offerings will be ìeclecticî and include bluegrass, folk, Celtic, klezmer, and country tunes. Headliners will be Scythian, Eddie from Ohio, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Humming House and the Six-String Soldiers.

The festival has grown every year, with about 3,000 attending the inaugural event, about 5,550 last year, and the expectation of about 7,000 this year, Lohmann said.

Most attendees come from the Virginia, with large numbers from Warren County and surrounding areas, he said. Past festivals have also attracted many people from North Carolina and New York.

Nestled in the mountains, the festival's location provides a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. and other cities, Lohmann said. The environment is meant to allow attendees to refresh and spend quality time with family and friends.

Festival planners believe the arts, particularly music, is a gift worth giving, Lohmann said.

"As the author Dostoyevsky said, 'beauty will save the world.' We want to just give people beauty, and not expect anything back," he said.

Appaloosa is intended to provide a fun environment for parents and children alike, he said. This rare feat for festivals is accomplished through offering fun activities for all ages.

Besides music, this year's attractions include a beer garden, plenty of food, a playground, and a kidís stage, Lohmann said.

Several different ticket packages are available at varying prices at Admission is free for children 12 and under.

Proceeds are used to fund the next festival and the Appaloosa Blue Ridge Arts Foundation, Lohmann said.

Started last year, the foundation mentors up-and-coming musicians and introduces them to the regionís culture and music. This is accomplished through free workshops provided by performers at the festival, but they would like to expand.

Lohmann said the goal is to make everyone, from the headliners to the about 200 volunteers, feel welcome at the festival.

"Hospitality, 100 times over, is really what we want to focus on. When people leave here, we want them to feel like they are leaving an experience theyíve never had before," Lohmann said.

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