Live Review: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort — 8/13-8/15/21

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Flex Matthews joined Justin Trawick at the last minute to fill an emergency opening in the 2021 Appaloosa Festival. (Photo by Chester Simpson.) 

Alex and Dan Fedoryka, founding members of the band Scythian, wanted to bring their friends and fans back to their family’s hometown of Front Royal, Virginia, on the scenic Skyline Ranch Resort, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s just a few minutes from the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, and less than a mile from the Shenandoah River. There is camping available on site, plus opportunities in the immediate vicinity to hike, canoe, fish, and bike.

Welcome to the perfect setting and the perfect weekend for the annual Appaloosa Music Festival, the result of the Fedoryka brothers’ dream to celebrate life and music with their friends and family, which includes you and me!

Because of COVID-10, last year’s Appaloosa Festival was canceled, so this year’s was a little more special.

Instead of the regular date of Labor Day weekend, this years family-friendly music festival was held on Aug. 13-15. The main stage, which looks like an old barn, built from reclaimed lumber protected the bands during two brief thunder storms that rolled through the area Friday and Saturday night.

On Friday evening, ARBO, a band of two brothers from Louisiana/Nashville with amazing talent, kicked things off for me and my camera.  Then, Young Dubliners, a Celtic Rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1988, whipped up the crowd with Irish traditional instruments and music with modern rock.

On Saturday, The Moores took to the stage in the morning. The Moores are composed of six siblings, each passionate about the music they produce, and they were very excited to be performing on stage. This is a family that travels on their own bus with their Mom and Dad. Big Dan the bus-driving Dad is also their manager, along with his wife. 

The band Aztec Sun had a medical emergency and had to cancel. With short notice, Justin Trawick and the Common Good showed up from DC to perform in place of Aztec Sun. In February of 2014, Trawick won “Song of the Year” at the Washington Area Music Awards for his solo recording of “All the Places That I’ve Been.” Justin introduced his special guest, DC rapper Flex Mathews, who smiled and rapped with Justin to the delight of the audience. Catch Justin Trawick and the Common Good at The Hamilton Live in DC on Friday, Aug. 20 or at the City Winery in DC on Wednesday Sept. 8.

Watch Justin Trawick perform “All the Places I’ve Been” live (at a different show) on YouTube:

Scythian jumped on stage at 7:15 pm and fired up the audience with their energy. They invited the HoneyDay on stage for a few songs, then Flex Mathews to rap and then two young ladies who performed some Irish dancing.

Dust Bowl Revival was unable to perform on the stage during the rain storm, but gathered in the Beer tent and performed along with their fellow musicians for a sing along with the small dry crowd till midnight.

On Sunday evening, Mink’s Miracle Medicine with Melissa Wright and Daniel Zezeski have deep musical roots and performed their own songs after traveling from Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Abigail Dowd, a soulful artist with a classical guitar style, grew up in North Carolina, and she made the audience take notice of her. Bill and The Belles, no one named Bill here, are from Johnson City, Tennessee, and lead by Kris Truelsen, who wrote all the songs (even wrote about his divorce) with excellent harmony vocal work which reminded me of one of my favorite SF bands, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. Go see them!

Here are some pictures of Appaloosa Music Festival at Skyline Ranch Resort on Aug. 13-15, 2021. All photos copyright and courtesy of Chester Simpson.

FRIDAY, Aug. 13


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#5 – HONEYDAY – HoneyDay on Instagram

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SUNDAY, Aug. 15


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2 thoughts on “Live Review: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort — 8/13-8/15/21

  1. Great Article… you left out one band though… Low Water Bridge Band played on Sunday and absolutely crushed it… what gives?

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