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Sturgill Simpson out, Billy Strings in at FloydFest

Sturgill Simpson out, Billy Strings in at FloydFest

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Billy Strings

Billy Strings

One of the biggest FloydFest buzz-generators was the Sturgill Simpson booking. Simpson, whose eclectic musical output has included honky-tonk, bluegrass, rock and even some electronic music, has backed out, festival organizers announced Thursday.

In the same thread, FloydFest announced the addition of Billy Strings, a brilliant guitarist and bandleader who is generating as much if not more buzz these days in both the bluegrass and jamband worlds.

FloydFest 21~Odyssey, set for July 21-25, dropped that info in an email that featured several other announcements, including its COVID-19 guidelines, brewery lineup and down-bill acts that should grab interest.

Strings, nee Billy Apostal, is fresh off a Grammy Award win for best bluegrass album. That record, “Home,” also topped the Billboard bluegrass chart. Strings and his band have performed at multiple Rooster Walks and at the erstwhile Rives Theatre, in Martinsville.

2017 Grammy-winner Simpson, who released a series of high-profile bluegrass albums in recent months, provided a statement to festival organizers Across-the-Way Productions that cited “unexpected and unforeseen circumstances.”

“FloydFest is a great independent festival and we highly encourage everyone to attend even though we cannot be there with you,” Simpson’s statement read.

In logistical news, the festival’s COVID protocols are online, at FloydFest.com/Covid. Reduced capacity is part of multiple actions that organizers are enacting.

New musical additions to the bill include Melt, The Josephines, and Southwest Virginia-based performers James Laqueux Band and Mike Mitchell Band.

The festival’s beer lineup this year features Deschutes Brewery (sponsoring FloydFest’s Libations Tent), Devils Backbone Brewing Co. (sponsoring the Throwdown Tent), Oskar Blues Brewery, Three Notch’d Brewing Co. (sponsoring the Hill Holler Viewing Deck) and White Claw Hard Seltzer.

See the full lineup, including The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show, and get ticket information at floydfest.com.

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