I had the great pleasure of spending some of my Memorial Day weekend at the Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ festival in Floyd, Virginia this past weekend. To say it was a good time is an understatement. A great line-up, beautiful weather, and the heart of the Blueridge mountains ringing with bluegrass music made for a great experience. Hosted by Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice, this is one to mark down for next year. 2018 marked the 8th year of the festival’s running.
I arrived on Friday and it was full tilt music from then on. With a host of great local bands opening the day, national acts Volume 5, Junior Sisk, Seldom Scene, and Lonesome River Band brought the house down. The stage setting at Chantilly is almost breathtaking. The audience sits on the hillside with the stage set up at the foot of the hill. All the bands really brought their “A” game. Junior Sisk performed some songs off of his new album, Brand New Shade of Blue. Seldom Scene, with new banjo/fiddle player Ron Stewart was a crowd favorite, and Lonesome River Band closed out Friday’s show.
Saturday was another day full of great music. Students from the Floyd Music School opened things up with a number of other local acts. Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Deeper Shade of Blue, Breaking Grass, Junior Sisk, Balsam Range, Love Canon, and the Wildman’s all provided the Saturday crowd with stellar music. During Junior Sisk’s set, a local fellow that goes by Sixpack got on stage during the song Wild Mountain Honey and made a wedding proposal to his girlfriend. She said yes! Junior mentioned if she had said no, the band would perform “All the good times have past and gone”. Junior called me up to pick and sing Little Maggie Saturday. Virginia is Stanley country, and they seemed to love it.
The barbecue portion of the festival was also first rate. Food vendors were there with a wide variety of good eats.
Mountain Fever owner Mark Hodges was in attendance all weekend, as his studio is just down the road. Quite a few of the bands performing were artists on the label. He provided them with T shirts to throw out to the crowd during their performances. I had the pleasure of meeting and visiting with Mark and a few of his close friends, as fine of folks as you will ever meet. I even got a jar of Alabama pickled okra to take home from Mark’s best friend!
Although I had to make tracks back to Ohio first thing Sunday morning, it was a day full of good bluegrass as well. I want to personally thank everyone for the warm welcome and hospitality. It seems no matter where you are, if you are at a bluegrass festival, you’re among family!
Thanks to the Larson family, Jason Gallimore, Junior and Susan Sisk, and all the new friends I made!
Thanks to Deb Miller with B Chord Photography for the images.