I've had my share of losses from both friends and family far before I felt it was their time and so my heart broke wide open reading the story behind the initial creation of Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival. The festival was created in memory of the loss of friends Edwin "The Rooster" Penn IV and Walker Shank. Their close friends developed a way to celebrate life and not waste a minute of it; a music festival named Rooster Walk.
Pretty incredible, right? The non-profit uses the proceeds from each year's festival to feed what is now over $100,000 back into local and regional charities, including $65,000 of it towards the "Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship Fund" which awards $4,000 each year to a deserving senior at Martinsville High School. Crying yet? Me too.
Nestled quaintly in Axton, Rooster Walk is a panorama of all that makes up beautiful Virginia landscapes. Backroads, unobstructed farmland, water, trees, and big blue skies. The small town has a population of 6,568 regularly, and Rooster Walk hosts 4,000+ visitors on the "Pop's Farm" property each year. Impressively, over 1,000 bands applied to play Rooster Walk in 2016, but in watching the popular Road To Rooster Walk blog series this year on their website, the food and beverage scene creates as much buzz as the music lineup. Opportunities are extended to local businesses throughout the weekend, whether they be non-profit, healing arts, or arts and craft vendors. Rooster Walk has extensive and accommodating space, combined with deals for tickets and camping for their vendor partners.
This year's lineup is saturated with heavy hitters. To help out introduce you to them, we created a Spotify playlist composed of a few jams we've added into our personal, daily rotations. Give it a listen and check out the schedule to plan your days accordingly.
Two can't miss happenings are the popular Brunch, Ballads, and Beer Saturday morning at 11 AM and feature eats by 616, a local Farm to Table restaurant located in Danville. The music will be provided by Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange, Josh Shilling of Mountain Heart, and Violet Bell ft Lizzy Ross. The word is that the event sells out fast and it's a $35 advance ticket price, so grab yours now!
Collaborations are what's on tap for Saturday evening. The Jammy Jam going down from 8-10 PM. The originality, exclusivity, and unpredictability of collaborations make this an easy favorite, as it is normally the most talked about happening of the weekend. Rooster Walk collabs at The Jammy Jam, hosted by Mountain Heart, will feature "Artists at Large," including Jay Starling of Love Canon playing his lap steel and Josh Shilling of Mountain Heart.
Spend your day checking out the variety of outdoor offerings from slacklining, biking, kayaking, or yoga to name a few. If you wanna make the weekend a family trip, check the website and Facebook updates for the Kid's Village schedule coming soon!
This wouldn't be a legit festival preview without a few preparation mentions. First up, rain gear. Never underestimate the weather. She handed me a tough one last year for festival season but I lived to tell you about it. Packing rain boots, a rain jacket, a rain guard for your tent/hammock, and water protection for your electronics will be the best monetary investment you make all season.
Next up, try out an ENO. I'm in no way a paid endorser for Eno, but I have been in a serious relationship with mine for the last four years of festival-ing. Eno hammocks are great for a day of lounging and listening to music, a nap under the trees before late night shenanigans, or sleeping away the day in a comfortable temperature (just make sure to bring a blanket, it can get chilly bundled up in there).
Comfortable shoes. Brands I've had success with are Sanuk, Teva, and Chaco. A bad shoe can break your weekend, don't let it happen to you. The basics to bring along: comfortable clothes>stylish clothes. Nobody cares what you look like and even if you think they care, it's better to just be comfortable. Another pro tip is to be sure to bring both warm and cool clothes. Layers are great, as the temperatures will fluctuate throughout the day and weekend.
Sunscreen, even if you are one of those who never burns, is a good idea to bring to protect your skin from 24-hour exposure. A water container to stay hydrated. Whether it be a reusable Nalgene bottle or a Klean Kanteen cup, staying hydrated is key. Last but not least: your best self. Attitude is everything when at a music festival. Meet someone new, share a high five, dance among strangers, whatever it is, be open and respectful of each other and the beauty of the weekend. A lot of people invest a lot of time to make it happen, our only job is to show up and radiate the positivity!
The recap video from last year will get you pumped up for this year. May is in full motion which means it's almost time to head to the farm, see you there, save me a dance!