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FloydFest Hot In More Ways Than One

The lead singer for “3 Minute Lovin’” serves up some Rockabilly in the dance tent.

With temperatures pushing well into the 90’s and humidity levels pushing the upper limits, it was more than just the music that was hot last weekend at FloydFest 9.  But make no mistake, the variety of acts presented on more than a half dozen stages, highlighted with performances by Levon Helm, Grace Potter, Old Crow Medicine Show and Mountain Heart – not to mention more than 100 other bands – had everyone’s full attention.

By late Saturday afternoon only a handful of people had stopped by the first aid tent asking for help with heat-related issues. “People are staying well hydrated,” said one volunteer that was manning the tent.

“You’re very kind to sit out there in the sun and listen to this set,” said Joe Pug, performing with the 100 Mile High Band on the Hill Holler Stage.  Many artists thanked those who endured the sweltering heat on Saturday. More than 14,000 were expected over the weekend; many camped out and stayed for the duration.

FloydFest is truly a family affair and this year’s event was no different, with kids and adults of all ages attending. In the Children’s Universe, Roanoke artist Katherine Devine gave classes for children during the day. “This is my ninth year,” said Devine, recalling the first FloydFest, held in September during hurricane season. It turned out to be a soggy affair. “We’re happy to be here.”

Devine called the Children’s Universe “wonderful. There’s good music all day. Even a lot of my grownup friends are happy to hang out here.” Devine likes how “the [local] community came together to pull it off … and what they bring in from out of the area. I get to see new artists and expand what I’m already familiar with.” Devine, who has a studio in the Grandin neighborhood, will show off some of her mixed media work at Oddfella’s Cantina in Floyd in August and September.

Yuriel Yard was in charge of the Children’s Universe, enlisting the help of Devine, Cindy Peterson and others. “We’re looking for things that are inspiring and fun for the kids,” said Yard, who worked to make sure parents weren’t bored either. It didn’t seem like too many people were bored at FloydFest. Yard received “a lot of positive responses,” to Devine’s art workshop and other Children’s Universe offerings. “We’ve gotten good feedback.”

Tom Kennedy, the market manager for Centennial Broadcasting and in charge of  overseeing 101.5 The Music Place in Roanoke, was at FloydFest for the first time. “Its magnificent,” said Kennedy, “much, much nicer – better than I expected.”  Like FloydFest, 101.5 has introduced a wide variety of music to listeners that might not experience it anywhere else in the area.

Kennedy said the world-beat, jazz, bluegrass, rock, Americana, etc. presented for all four days at FloydFest represented “the diversity we need to have in our cultural milieu, bringing people together and exposing them to new things.”

Kennedy figured that at least “85 to 90 percent,” of the music at FloydFest would fit with The Music Place’s all-over-the-map format. “I can’t think of anything here that wouldn’t wind up on our station.”

(Across the Way Productions, which staged FloydFest and Floyd Fandango a few weeks before that, aren’t done yet. They head to Centreville, Virginia to run the Virginia Wine Festival on September 18-19. See and click on the link for more details)

By Gene Marrano
[email protected]

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