By Diane Catanzaro and Chris Jones
Festival culture has deep historical roots. Multi-day festivals of music, dance, drinking, and fellowship have always been part of human culture. While many of us think of Woodstock as the origin of “festival culture,” the ancient Romans had Saturnalia, the Greeks celebrated Dionysia, and the early Egyptians partied at the Festival of Drunkenness. The latter was a tribute to the bloodthirsty Goddess Sekhmet, tricked into drinking copious amounts of beer tinted red so she would think it was blood. Once she regained consciousness three days later, she became a much kinder Goddess, was reborn as Hathor, and humanity was saved. While modern-day festivals discourage drunkenness and ritual sacrifice, they do fill a need for people to escape their daily toils and engage in celebration, bonding, and transcendence with a tribe of kindred souls. Lockn’ is a modern-day embodiment of this festival spirit, to be held in Arrington, Virginia August 25-28.
Lockn’ is a four-day festival on the vast grounds of a former raceway in the heart of gorgeous Nelson County, between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. New this year is a rotating stage. When each band’s set is completed, the stage will rotate and the next band appears, plugged in and ready to rock. This promising innovation is a “lazy susan” for bands! There are also two smaller stages that will have morning and late-night performances near the camping areas. At press time, the musical lineup includes Phish, Ween, My Morning Jacket, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Peter Wolf, Brandi Carlisle, the Wailers, Gary Clark, Jr., Donna the Buffalo, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, and more. Check the website as the line-up may change and additional performers added.
The festival culture at Lockn’ features music, craft beer, food, camping, dancing, and a friendly, laid-back vibe. The crowd is positive, joyous, and everyone seems to have a kind smile. Tie-dyes are prevalent, and your hippie skirt, kilt, or American flag do-rag will fit right in. Cool vendors like Sunshine Octopus can hook you up with hippie threads if yours didn’t make the trip from the ‘60s. Nonprofit booths raise consciousness about issues like the environment and voter registration. The food tent emphasizes local vendors, with choices like Kimchee burritos, savory pastry pies, Asian noodles, veggie stir fry, pizza, bourbon barrel beef, and pulled pork barbeque.
Of course if you are reading this magazine you are interested in BEER! It is rare to find the range of craft beers featured at Lockn’ at other concerts and music festivals. Often corporate sponsors’ macro lagers dominate, with a “micfauxbrew” or two, and local craft brewers are shut out. Lockn’ loves local, and the beer selection will be among the best you’ve experienced at any music festival or large-scale concert event. Last year’s choices included numerous Virginia-brewed beers from Wild Wolf, Blue Mountain, South Street, Old Bust Head, Champion, Starr Hill, Seven Arrows, Devils Backbone, Lickinghole Creek, Castle Hill Cider, and Potter’s Craft Cider. We created mash-ups of craft beer with kombucha, with thirst-quenchingly delicious results. And, unlike at some other festivals, there are thankfully no restrictions that require you to drink your beer in a roped-off area or tent.
Campers can bring in food and alcohol; day-trippers are limited to a sealed bottle of water. Refill it regularly to stay hydrated. Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted, and a colorful flag or banner can help locate your group in the crowd after dark. A small flashlight is useful for evening porta-potty use and navigating the occasionally uneven terrain. Bikes are welcome; bring your own or rent one there.
There are VIP, Super VIP, RV, camping and glamping options, as well as shuttle and hotel packages for lodging and transportation at Wintergreen, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg. Check the Lockn’ website for detailed information about these options and each day’s musical line-up – Locknfestival.com