The Red Wing Roots Music Festival was held over three days, on July 9, 10, and 11, beneath the towering 500-million-year-old rock formations of Natural Chimneys Park and Campground located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
It was a breath of fresh air, to voyage out of our confined space for the first time to a music festival that’s near and dear to our hearts. COVID canceled all gatherings of this type last year, but gave us a new appreacation for what everyone had missed … sweet love of music.
This family-friendly festival brings the best musician’s from all over, to perform their magic with the music we all needed. Laughter, smiles, sights and sounds filled the days underneath the canopy of shady trees as children played and the music filled our ears. Activities like hoop dance workshops, yoga, runs, hikes, bike rides and kids’ activities with fresh water available, plus a beer garden for the adults to enjoy.
The festival is the brainchild of the local band The Steel Wheels, who work very hard to line up regional and national bands confident that these are some of the best musicians, some you’ve never heard of, some you didn’t expect. All bring finger picking, bluegrass, American roots music to listen to, to wonder and make your heart sing.
It’s not possible to witness every musical act performed that warm and sunny weekend, so you must pick and choose between the five stages and follow your festival guide and your ears. You will walk away, singing a tune in your head from a new artist you just heard and smiling at your new discovery.
Watch the official music video for “Get to Work” by The Steel Wheels on YouTube:
From the program:
Dear Red Wing Family,
We are overjoyed to return with you to Natural Chimneys. Thank you for being one of the Red Wing faithful and supporting each other and the festival through everything. You are the best.
There was no roadmap for this year, but many of us walked a similar path. Did you make lofty goals in the early months of the pandemic? Did you learn to bake sourdough? Maybe you thought it would be over by last summer. It was a challenging year for most of us. Still, as vaccines took hold in our communities, this Spring has been a relatively quick return to something that resembles normal. We want to acknowledge what the scientific community has done and continues to do to champion the vaccines that have enabled this gathering to take place. At the same, we should acknowledge that the loss of the past year lingers a little. The road to healing may be long and steep, but we believe music is one of the ways we can begin.
It’s never easy to identify what people are coming to the festival for. We hope you find what you need this year. Each song we sing tells a small part of our story. Sometimes we sing to escape or transcend. Other songs are there to help us remember or to pass on some part of history. This year has written many stories for us already. Let the music write another chapter.
We cannot begin to express our gratitude for the Red Wing team, staff, volunteers (and local health authorities) for making this weekend possible.
Welcome to the festival. We can’t wait to see you and be together. Be safe and be kind to one another.
Trent Wagler and the Steel Wheels
Here are some photos of the Red Wing VIII Roots Music Festival at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia, on July 9-11, 2021. All photos copyright and courtesy of Chester Simpson.
Hogslop String Band
Jon Strickley Trio
Asleep at the Wheel
Bryan Elijah Smith
The Steel Wheels
Natural Chimneys Park and Campground