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Get your fill of an eclectic mix of country artists in Salem on June 1.
Courtesy Lisa Carpenter
Courtesy of Webster & Associates
Courtesy of Juan Pont Lezica
Courtesy Peyton Hoge
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Big hitmakers, a country rapper, a rising songwriter, a couple of up-and-comers — even a guy who plays a country star on TV — are part of the Blue Ridge Music Festival on June 1 at Salem Football Stadium.
A regional party favorite and a Roanoke Valley new country band are on the bill, as well.
Nashville, Tenn.-based promoter Outback Concerts, working with the city of Salem, is reviving the Blue Ridge Music Festival name. The event last happened in 2005 and 2006, at neighboring Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium, with a bluegrass-heavy lineup over two October days at the ball park.
This time around, they hope to draw fans of country music, which is enjoying lots of crossover success these days.
If the warmer weather and more commercially popular lineup bring the crowds, the festival will become an annual, two-day event, Salem civic facilities manager Carey Harveycutter has said.
At the top of next week’s lineup, Little Big Town (“Boondocks,” “Little White Church,” “Pontoon,” “Tornado”) and Hunter Hayes (“Wanted,” “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” “I Want Crazy”) bring the hit-power. Gloriana built momentum in 2011 with its No. 2 hit, “(Kissed You) Goodnight.”
Colt Ford, who rapped his way to “Chicken & Biscuits” fame, has co-written hit songs for Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert, while Will Hoge co-wrote Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” But both have a reputation as exciting performers.
Greg Bates and Sara Haze are relative unknowns just starting to build a following. Charles Esten was an improvisational comedian on both the British and American versions of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” and “The Office” before landing on the ABC TV show “Nashville,” where he plays country singer Deacon Claybourne. Esten has parlayed that role into his own songwriting and performing career.
Charlottesville-based Skip Castro Band combined swing, boogie, rock ’n’ roll and more to become a phenomenal regional party act, and the group has over the past couple of years begun hitting it in earnest again.
Rutledge, which plays the festival after-party inside neighboring Salem Civic Center, has been impressing audiences in the valleys with its harmonies and tight musicianship, as well as some original songs.
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