Guthrie, Harris headline summer music festival

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

ORKNEY SPRINGS — A 1960s folk singer and a 13-time Grammy Award-winning country artist will headline the 54th Shenandoah Valley Music Festival this summer.

Arlo Guthrie will open the festival at Shrine Mont Camp and Conference Center in Orkney Springs on July 21, while Emmylou Harris will appear on Sept. 2.

Guthrie released his debut album, “Alice’s Restaurant,” in 1967 and performed at the Woodstock Music Festival two years later. He is best known for his 20-minute debut single, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.”

Guthrie’s father, Woody Guthrie, wrote the song “This Land is Your Land” in 1940.

Harris has released 26 albums since her debut, “Gliding Bird,” in 1969. She has won four Grammy awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance between 1976 and 2005, as well as two for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

“People have been telling us for years, ‘You’ve got to get Emmylou Harris,’” festival President Dennis Lynch said. “Eventually, you get the message.”

Rounding out the festival’s partial lineup, which was released on March 1, are a July 22 performance by the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, and bluegrass bands Balsam Range, After Jack and Band of Ruhks.

They will close out the festival on Sept. 3 as part of the Bluegrass Minifest.

The orchestra’s performance, called “Celebrate 1967,” will mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with songs from the Beatles albums “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Magical Mystery Tour,” which were released that year.

Lynch said he is working on filling open performance slots on July 28, Aug. 11 and Aug. 12. Ticket prices and show times will be finalized when those slots are filled, he said.

For the first time this year, Lynch said, Rotary Club members from the northern Valley will raise money for polio eradication during the orchestra show.

“They approached us and said that we could help with district-wide publicizing,” Lynch said. “Polio eradication has been Rotary’s goal since the mid-1980s.”

The festival is Virginia’s longest-running outdoor concert series. For more information, visit

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