Written by Maria Ekaterina

All Photos by Roger Gupta

Exceeding expectations and rising to new heights amidst the beautiful Appalachian Mountains, FloydFest brought a new meaning to the word ‘festival’ proving to be a do not miss event of the summer. Rich in music, inspiration, love and phenomenal atmosphere this place holds unique energies of life encouraging the natural freedom to be yourself. With so much great music, outdoor activities, inspiring workshops and spontaneous surprises FloydFest had it all! From the moment people arrived on festival grounds they were greeted by friendly informative faces assisting them with camping and parking. One of the great things about camping onsite at FloydFest is the wide range of shaded real estate available for your new home, amidst all the great music.

FloydFest continues to encourage artists like The Get Right Band, Villa*Nova, Suitcase Junket, Chris Ross and The North as well as many others with rising opportunities to perform on multiple stages throughout the weekend. Among the many artists that have planted roots on multiple stages throughout previous years at FloydFest, one of the biggest standouts that has grown in soulful and down to earth tones is Rising Appalachia. Chloe and Leah Smith were warmly welcomed back to FloydFest Dreaming Creek stage during their vivacious, multi-instrumental Saturday set.

Big Something planted their roots at FloydFest back in 2011 playing on the Pink Floyd Beer Garden stage as well as the Global Village stage as an on the rise band.  Making a huge comeback & being slotted to play on the main stage, they raised the bar during their phenomenal Thursday night performance on the Hill Holler stage. They cleverly reinvented Coolio’s song “Gangsta’s Paradise” with changed lyrics into a groovy  “Amish Paradise” frenzy. Rain or shine Big Something brought their best to the Dreaming Creek stage as they endured the rain during their second set Friday afternoon with original songs such as  “Passenger”, “Love Generator” and “Capt D”.

Zach Deputy, Vurro, Suitcase Junket, Keller Williams and That1Guy all brought their unique one-man orchestra shows throughout the weekend with their clever and upbeat tunes. Zach Deputy brought a melting pot of phenomenal sounds of world class influences through his drum, string, vocal and loop pedal combination to deliver medicine for the soul throughout his Friday sets. The mystery around Vurro grew throughout the weekend, as the cow skull wearing one man show opened up an underworld of rock music throughout his four sets. Smashing cymbals with his horns while keeping a steady beat on the drums captivated majority of the weekends crowd.

Mike Silverman, a.k.a. That1Guy was a phenomenal piece of this years Buffalo Mountain Jam, bringing his own sonic array of uncomparable sounds through his one of a kind magic pipe. Keller Williams smoothly unfolds Bluegrass, Rock, Jam, Funk, Reggae and Alternative sounds with his bass guitar, percussion, theremin and looping during his midday set on the main stage Saturday. Later that night he enriched “For What It’s Worth” during the Buffalo Mountain Jam set with the Swedish sisters Sunniva, Greta and Stella Bondesson from the band Baskery creating another once in a lifetime moment at FloydFest. Buffalo Mountain Jam sparked it’s match in 2016 with Gregg Allmans’ unfortunate cancellation of his headlining Saturday night set due to illness. This year’s extraordinary version of “Midnight Rider” was the perfect way to start their set Saturday night while commemorate his passing in May. FloydFest holds a strong Love amidst the Appalachian Mountains nurturing moments to grow out of some of the most unfortunate circumstances. This year’s Jam included members of Leftover Salmon, T-Sisters,  Larry Keel, Railroad Earth, Shook Twins, Keller Williams, That1Guy and many others, who defined this year’s FloydFest with their collaboration of world class music.

Michael Franti returned to FloydFest participating in Yoga during the early afternoon before he delivered an outstanding performance full of special surprises Friday night on the Dreaming Creek Stage. Calling out injustice in this world with a look towards optimist he encouraged happiness, equality and understanding throughout the night. Not only did he invite kids to join him on stage to partake in singing “Sound of Sunshine”, he took multiple trips out into the audience singing “Good to Be Alive Today” and “11:59” to name a couple. A powerful ripple of Love transcended beyond the mountains when one of FloydFests own photographers got down on both knees in front of thousands of people and successfully proposed, leaving everyone in tears of joy.

Hearing the music, feeling the magic and seeing the mountains is just the beginning of creating a unique FloydFest experience. Workshops, hikes, open jams, 5k races, yoga, disc golf and Little River float trips allowed people to enjoy a wide array of natural elements the mountains have to offer. FloydFest exceeded patrons expectations through the freedom to choose your own unforgettable adventure.