Virginia Highlands Festival offers arts, music, more
By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | July 31, 2013The 65th annual Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, Va., offers a wide range of distinctive arts-related events from Aug. 2 through Aug. 11.
In addition to the events listed below, the festival offers gospel and classical music concerts, workshops, youth events that include clowns, a ventriloquist, storytelling and more. There is also a youth talent contest and a street party featuring 7 Bridges, an Eagles tribute band.
One of the most popular literary events is Creative Writing Day held Aug. 5. This year presenters include Silas House, Sofia Starnes, Jim Minick and Nicholas Piper. Topics include "A Crash Course in Fiction Craftsmanship," "Mood: From Creative Setting to Vessel for Meaning," "Out of Emotion, Into Image," "Dramaturgy for the Stage" and "Playing with Time." The workshops cost $30 and registration begins at 8:30 in the lobby outside Keyser-Aday Theatre on the campus of Virginia Highlands Community College.
A number of festival related events are held at venues throughout Abingdon, including craft demonstrations, musical events and workshops.
Exhibits and Demonstrations
• AUG. 2-11: The Juried Fine Arts Show is on display at The Arts Depot.
• AUG. 2-11: The Youth Art Exhibit is on display at William King Museum. An opening reception is held Aug. 4 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
• AUG. 2-11: The Photography Exhibit is on display at William King Museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
• AUG. 2-11: Crafts Demonstrations will be held daily at Holston Mountain Artisans.
• AUG. 2: The opening night concert features The Return at 7 p.m. at Latture Field. This Beatles tribute band specializes in early-"60s Beatles. Think mop tops, black suits and Beatle boots. The opening act is Bristol's own Annabelle's Curse. Their traditional folk with a modern edge has quickly developed a loyal fan base. $10 in advance, $15 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased at www.vahighlandsfestival.org
• AUG. 3 & 4: Celtic Music Weekend is at the Abingdon Market Pavilion. This year's schedule packs a heavy punch and includes rock versions of traditional songs about knights and knaves, Irish reels, Scottish ballads, long-haired maiden songstresses and gypsies. Maidens IV bring their repertoire of traditional music to the stage at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday. Tempest performs its high-octane Norwegian influenced folk rock at 2 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Rathkeltair, one of the most popular Celtic rock bands, plays at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Sharon Knight's romantic voice and love of storytelling entertain at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. The Appalachian Highlander Pipes and Drums open the weekend at 1 p.m. Saturday. Misfit Gypsies will be performing throughout the day Saturday. Tickets are $12 Saturday only, $8 Sunday only or $15 for a weekend pass, under 12 free. Advance tickets available at www.vahighlandsfestival.org
• AUG. 8-11: The Summer Concert Series features up-and-coming artists at the Abingdon Market Pavilion. Barlow Gin and the Hatchet Men are channeling serious rockabilly and pumping out one high-energy song after another at 2 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. This Mountain's folk-rock tunes can be heard at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Acoustic Reaction's feel-good Americana music — acoustic versions of classic hits by Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, Simon and Garfunkel among others – can be heard at 5 p.m. Saturday. Catfish Frye Band's old-school electric blues takes the stage Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Wise Old River, described as eclectic-Americana, performs at 1 p.m. Sunday. They also give a free performance at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Thomas Taylor and High Rize bring favorites from Conway Twitty, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson to the stage at 8 p.m. Thursday for a free concert. Tickets for the weekend lineup are $5 a day or $8 for the weekend. Advance tickets are available at www.vahighlandsfestival.org
Acoustic Reaction is part of the Summer Concert Series.
Catfish Frye Band's old-school blues is on stage Aug. 11.