Blacksburg Musical Tradition
4:44 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Summer Arts Festival

Credit Virginia Tech

With summer on the way it’s festival season, a time for everyone to get out and celebrate the arts and culture of the region.  This Friday marks the beginning of The Summer Arts Festival in Blacksburg. 

Music from eight different bands, classic movies at the Lyric, street festivals, art exhibitions and live theater productions are all part of Blacksburg’s Summer Arts Festival.

 “We basically want to be that home town type of thing that will bring our community out for socialization and talking and laughing and having a good time and our outdoor concerts are one of our major parts of the festival," says Jane Harrison, of the school performing arts at Virginia Tech organizes it with help from the town of Blacksburg and countless volunteers.

"And because we are having them on Henderson lawn on VT property but it is really the cornerstone of the town of Blacksburg so we meet there in the middle and we do a great concert. They’re free to the public. They start at 6 o'clock they run til 7:30 every Friday beginning on June 6.”

The festival got started 23 years ago when then, Tech was looking to create something for summer school students, who didn’t have much to do in town back then.  Now Harrison coordinates the events that have come to be a part of it, but she picks most of the musical acts herself.

“The first thing I have to think of is do they engage our audience do they want to make them want to stand up and dance and they do, so we get great entertainment. We’ll have little kids up there dancing and playing with the hula hoop, you’ve got young adults up there dancing, you have shaggers that come out to dance you have some.. older people enjoying the music, they’re standing up, they’re clapping.”

“I would say one of the more exciting acts that ‘s going to be on the line up is the Dixie Power Trio," says Tad Dickens, music reporter for the Roanoke Times.

“It’s a lot of fun to listen to those guys and its one of those, that in the way that the ‘Ben Folds Five’ is actually a trio, this is actually a quartet. And it’s real sort of Louisiana centric with a lot of Jazz and New Orleans style and they do funk and parade music and zydeco stuff, so very, very as they say, a swinging bunch of cats.”

Another band playing the festival that Dickens likes a lot is the called ‘3 minute Lovin”. He says the name comes from the old 45mm records

“Yeah, well the thing about this band, and this song kind of encapsulates it really well is, it definitely draws from you know, that sort of rollicking feel that happened in the days before it became this very commercial almost contemporary classic rock heavy metal guitar vibe almost. It’s more reverby, twangy the way guitar used to sound in country music and the way vocals used to sound in country music. Kind of a throwback but they’re making original songs out of throw back notions, which is a unique way to go about it and I don’t think really, anybody else around here is doing it that way.”

The Blacksburg Summer Arts Festival kicks off this Friday night.