Written by  Lindsey Brickey

For the past 19 years Harpers Ferry, WV has been home to The Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival. For those many wonderful years this festival has helped raise money for one of West Virginia’s most precious resources, something that helps keep our state Wild and Wonderful: Our rivers and waterways.  While this year the festival will be celebrating a milestone – two decades of outdoor fun, music, and conservation – they will also be closing this chapter of WV history. This 20th celebration will be their last. Despite this sad news, festival-goers can be assured that this year’s festival will be jam-packed with activities for all ages and interests.

Live music begins Friday at 5pm and continues until 11pm, then resumes Saturday at 1pm and wraps up at 11pm that night. The musical lineup includes 10 unique bands: The Plate Scrapers, Brokedown Hustlers, Split String Soup, The Woo Yeahs, Herb & Hanson, Copper Canyon Bluegrass Band, The Speakeasy Boys, Mink’s Miracle Medicine, Space Canoe, and Old Number Seven. There are also several races being held during the festival, including the Doah Cup Raft Race, and the Potomac River Attainment on Friday, then a 5K Trail Race, and the Tim Gavin Down River Race on Saturday. A silent auction will be held as well on Saturday from 1pm-8pm.

Camping is a simple affair at this festival. Tents are a must. No. Really. This festival is for Tent camping only. Cars, Rvs, and pop-ups are not allowed, although there is a shuttle to help campers get to and from their vehicles more easily. Several local shops and restaurants will have vendor booths, as well as many other outside vendors so be sure to take some time and see what they have to offer, and maybe buy a few trinkets or snacks while you’re there. Tickets to the festival are $20 on Friday, and $25 on Saturday at the gate, but as all prepared and frugal festival-goers know, you save money if you decide to buy the $40 weekend pass. All children under the age of 12 receive free admission, and there will be plenty of family-friendly and kid-friendly activities throughout the weekend.

All proceeds from the festival benefit important river and water conservation groups including The Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition, the Shendoah and Potomac Riverkeepers, the West Virginia River’s Coalition, the Friends of Cheat, and the Friends of the Blackwater. With such an incredible cause behind it, and this being its last year, it’s doubly important for all of us to continue the HFOF message of environmental conservation and awareness in our own lives and to keep our state, and our lives, Wild and Wonderful. We hope to see you at this year’s festival enjoying the great outdoors, the great music, and, of course, the great state of WV where all country roads lead home and ‘almost heaven’ really does seem possible.

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