Staunton Folk Festival debuts July 30

staunton2editsSunspots Studios will host the first Staunton Folk Festival on Sunspots Pavilion stage on Saturday, July 30, from noon to 10pm.

Admission is free.  Bluegrass banjo legend, Alan Munde, will make an exclusive appearance in Staunton as part of the first annual Staunton Folk Festival, which will also include a lineup of area musicians, including singer-songwriter Nathan Moore, the Heifetz Institute ‘Hootenanny’ musicians, Tara Mills and Jimmy Stelling, the Keezletones, and more.

The Staunton Folk Festival is a new event for a new venue, the Sunspots Pavilion, in downtown Staunton.  The Folk Festival will be devoted to music that has sprung from the American experience.  The various traditions of the people that settled here from all over the world has created to a rich musical landscape that is still evolving.

“We plan to make this an annual event,” says event organizer, Doug Sheridan.  “When I built this stage, I wanted it to be a place where locals could come and hear all the wonderful music that has its roots in our area.  I also wanted local musicians to have a place they can showcase their talent.  Virginia has a long and rich music-making heritage that continues to this day, whether it is a polished stage act or a gathering at a local hangout, like Marinos.”

For this year’s inaugural Festival, bluegrass banjo legend, Alan Munde, is coming to Staunton from Texas.  Alan Munde has accompanied many bluegrass greats, including Jimmy Martin (as one of his Sunny Mountain Boys), the Flying Burrito Brothers, and the members of the New Grass Revival.  His virtuosity on the 5-string banjo has been featured on 29 albums, and in a monthly column for Frets Magazine during the ‘80s.  He and his musical partner, Joe Carr, received the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2008.

Also appearing on the Sunspots Pavilion stage during the Festival are Nathan Moore, and the Heifetz Hootenanny performers, among others.  Nathan Moore is a nationally recognized folk singer-songwriter who hails from Staunton.  He has released a dozen solo albums and has written over 1,000 songs.  He has toured the country extensively both as a solo artist and as part of two bands, ThaMuseMeant and Surprise Me Mr. Davis, sharing the stage at times with Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews, Chuck Berry, and others.  He won the prestigious Troubadour Award at the Telluride Blue Grass Festival in 2009.

The Heifetz Institute is a highly competitive international summer program for young, talented string musicians.  While typically focusing on classical music, the musicians are also challenged to try folk and other genres, and they offer performances of those styles at Saturday evening “Hootenanny” concerts in July and August at Mary Baldwin College.  The Heifetz students will present a set of their hootenanny folk music at the Folk Festival.

Other acts include Charlottesville duo Tara Mills and Jimmy Stelling on guitar and banjo playing original ‘mountain Americana,’ the Keezletones  of Harrisonburg playing old time music, and the Jig Is Up of Staunton playing Irish instrumental tunes.

The Staunton Folk Festival runs from 12 noon until 10pm, and admission is free, thanks to generous sponsorship by WQSV, Staunton Downtown Development Association, Union Bank, and The Depot Grille.  Visit Sunspots’ website,, or the Sunspots Pavilion Facebook page for more information and updates.  Bring a chair.  Alcohol and glass containers are prohibited.