FloydFest 16 kicks off today with headliners Greg Allman, Warren Haynes, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Railroad Earth, Anders Osborne, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and Pimps of Joytime along with newcomers Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Shakey Graves, The Wood Brothers, Elephant Revival and the Monophonics.
Other artists include Nahko and Medicine for the People, Rich Robinson, the Otis Taylor Band, The Larry Keel Experience, Con Brio, Banditos, The Legendary Shack Shakers, Dustbowl Revival, Head for the Hills, Honey Island Swamp Band and The Congress.
Heading into its 15th event, FloydFest is taking advantage of the leap year and syncing the festival's number - FloydFest 16 -- with the year, says co-founder Erika Johnson.
Why? Why not? "It will help end a lot of confusion and we're doing it because we can," she added with a laugh.
This year's festival theme is "Dreamweavin'" and features a hidden stage on site that will act as host to FloydFest 15. FloydFest was recently named as one of Time magazine's best 240 things about America in the Fourth of July issue and Fox News named the music festival among the year's hottest.
All the headliners are great acts who promise great performances.
But promise me you will take the time to check out some of these lesser known acts as well, some of which are part of thefestival's annual On-the-Rise (OTR) Competition. Kris Hodges, co-founder of the festival set for July 27-31 off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milemarker 170.5, says several of the bands are alumni of other area festivals, including Rooster Walk Arts and Music Festival and Front Porch Fest, among others.
Here are my picks among the acts you need to seek out: Look Homeward
And make sure you cast your vote for your favorite OTR act. Jason Andre of the Wilmington, North Carolina-based The Midatlantic says competing against so many other talented bands in the OTR to be fan favorites is no joke.
"The fact that a majority of people took the time to walk down to the ballot box, circle our name and vote for us was really humbling," he says of coming in runner-up of OTR in 2015. "FloydFest in general was the highlight of our year last year. Winning runner-up alongside our friends Look Homeward was icing on the cake. We are very honored that everyone enjoyed us enough to make the concerted effort to make sure we came back and sure enough we are coming back and we can't wait! Playing FloydFest has vastly expanded our fan base and has led to meeting several amazing people, bands and booking some amazing shows around the region. It's only going to get better this year!"
Let me know your favorite FloydFest act. I look forward to hearing from you.