WHEN TO GO: From July 25 through 28, the 428 residents of Floyd will put out a big, fat welcome mat for the music-loving multitudes who come to see more than eighty acts, which skew toward hard-charging, foot-stomping Americana.
WHAT TO EXPECT: FloydFest has stayed true to its Appalachian roots while growing steadily over its twelve-year history. It now draws 15,000 festival-goers to a sprawling encampment fifteen miles outside of town; on site there are eight music stages, beer and wine gardens, an arts village, and even a mountain-biking trail into the surrounding Blue Ridge. This year’s lineup is heavy on folk rockers, including the Lumineers, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Brandi Carlile.
TYPICAL DAY: After waking up Saturday morning in the Old Church Gallery Suite (or one of fifteen other guest rooms) at downtown’s homey Hotel Floyd, fuel up with an early Cuban sandwich lunch at Oddfella’s Cantina & Tapas Bar, which specializes in “comfort food with an Appalachian Latino twist.” Then shuttle to the concert grounds to rouse friends who are camping in the official tent city. Slather on sunscreen and divide your time between the brass-band parade, the new Vaudeville Revue tent, and the old-time mountain music at the intimate Virginia Folklore Workshop Porch. Later, flash your VIP-area laminate (after all, you paid handsomely for it) to fortify yourself with craft beers and snacks before you claim a seat right smack onstage to watch headliner Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes. Pace yourself, though: Even after the main stage goes dark, the Yonder Mountain String band kicks off a raucous midnight set.
GETTING THERE: Hop off I-81 near Roanoke and wind forty scenic miles southwest. floydfest.com