Locked on Lock'n

Charlottesville Music Festivals give an intimate view into great music

Looking to get a little taste of the music festival experience, but missed out the big names like Bonnaroo, Coachella and Lollapalooza? Don’t fret. The Charlottesville area will play host to its own smaller festivals this fall which promise to offer stellar music and local food.

The first such festival is Lock’n, which will be hosted at Oak Ridge farm just 35 miles south of Charlottesville Sept. 5-8. Formerly called the “Interlocken” festival, the sets at the main stage will be uniquely structured. Each will transition seamlessly to the next, making for a continuous and unbroken musical experience during the weekend.

Lock’n will feature jam band veterans like the String Cheese Incident, Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes and Widespread Panic, Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff as well as New Orleans funk outfits the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Soul Rebels Brass Band. Additionally, roots rock greats like the Black Crowes and Grace Potter will make appearances throughout the weekend. While the lineup is shorter than those at more established festivals, Lock’n emphasizes quality over quantity — promising longer sets and multiple performances from single artists throughout the weekend.

Student tickets are $180 for the entire weekend, and $59 for individual days. Convenient daily shuttles will run from both Fashion Square and the Downtown Mall to the festival, making it an attractive venue for students wishing to dip their toes in the vibrant Virginia festival scene.

If you can’t make it to Lock’n, however, The Festy Experience is another great festival happening not far from Charlottesville later this fall. Running Oct. 11-13 in Nelson County, the festival will be curated by legendary bluegrass fusion band The Infamous Stringdusters, and will feature Virginia festival frequenters Railroad Earth and JJ Grey. As founders, the Stringdusters say that the “experience” of the festival is crucial and they work to bring in the best local art, music and food. This includes the on-site restaurant and brewery at Devils Backbone Brewery Company and many other micro-breweries from the local area.

In contrast with other more intense festivals, The Festy seeks to provide festival-goers with a variety of quaint outdoor lodging options, making the festival ideal for patrons of all ages. Camping passes for the weekend begin at $150, but single day tickets are also being sold for $39.

It’s true that big name festivals offer a wider selection of nationally renowned artists, but don’t count these festivals out just because you don’t recognize most of the performers. The atmosphere at smaller festivals is unparalleled, and because of their reduced size, they give festival-goers a more intimate experience with music and the local arts scene.

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