|The Chimneys (photo by Vickey Higgins Goff)|
The setting for the festival is picturesque and park-like, with the two main stages (Shenandoah Mountain Stage and the South Stage) positioned between the awesome natural chimneys from which the park gets its name. Sets on these two primary stages were staggered so that as soon as one act was ending a performer on the other one would begin. The Blue Mountain Brewery beer garden was catty-cornered a hundred yards or so back, so you could watch and hear both the Shenandoah Mountain Stage and the South Stage from the beer garden if you wanted to.
|Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three (Six?) (Photo by Vickey Goff)|
For our group of friends, a festival such as this is as much an opportunity to hang out and reconnect (and get into all sorts of mischief) as it is a chance to see great music. I only saw some of the bands that played on Friday and Saturday (and none on Sunday), so I’m not able to give a good overview of the performances other than saying the cool vibe and natural setting certainly helped spark some inspired performances from the assembled bands.
|The Devil Makes Three! (Photo by Vickey Higgins Goff)|
Festival hosts The Steel Wheels do a fantastic job putting on Red Wing Roots. The only thing I can think of that might improve upon it in the future would be to branch out slightly beyond the roots/Americana focus to include a few other acts like a Dawes or Dr. Dog (rock), or maybe an unabashedly jammy jamband/improv-oriented ensemble, or an uptempo reggae/world music performer. Richmond, VA’s The Hot Seats would be perfect for an 11pm slot, like the one they did at Watermelon Park fest a couple years back.