Music fest saw encouraging debut

Scythian performs at their inaugural 2015 Appaloosa Festival at Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal over Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy of Danielle Lussier

Appaloosa Festival launched at Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal last year as a crossroads for folk and bluegrass music lovers, and plans are already in place for a second go around this year.

Three founding members of D.C.-based host band Scythian – Alexander Fedoryka, Danylo Fedoryka and Josef Crosby – reflected on the successes of last year’s festival and the improvements and expansions they’re planning for this year’s Labor Day weekend event.

All in all, they estimated that around 3,000 people attended the 2015 festival over the course of its two days, with families making up a good portion of the crowds. Although they knew the one-month timeframe from getting the festival permit to the actual event date made for a gamble, the response from attendees and artists alike was encouraging.

“There was a real great buzz afterwards and the feedback, too, was very positive,” said Danylo Fedoryka.

One new addition the group is looking forward to offering is an expanded primitive campsite on Skyline Ranch Resort Property where attendees can stay at over the weekend. Because they received their festival permit so close to deadline last year, attendees didn’t have that option.

“We found this place which was truly ideal, but we were about six or seven weeks out from the event,” Crosby said. “Unfortunately, the Health Department rule says we had to apply for that permit three months in advance.”

This time around, the band received the go ahead from the Warren County Board of Supervisors in December and said they’re in the process of getting the permit for expanded primitive camping.

“This would give people the opportunity to build their own festival city,” Crosby said.

Alex Fedoryka said the addition of a workshop stage this year will increase opportunities for both local and national acts to offer musical inspiration to aspiring artistic attendees both young and old. Crosby said that instruction ties into the Appaloosa theme of giving back to the community – at a location that represents part of the cradle of bluegrass music.

“A lot of that music really originated there, and we feel like there’s kind of a lost link to the new generation,” he said.

The band is also reaching out to a younger generation of musicians through the Appaloosa lineup, which will include at least 10 more bands than last year.

“It’s been really important for us to find really worthy young talent for these things and showcase them to an audience that hasn’t seen them before,” Crosby said.

Festivalgoers from Front Royal might recognize some local artists set to perform this year, and the band said other new Appaloosa acts have been making waves and topping charts left and right. Festival organizers have also been reaching out to area businesses to bring more familiar and homegrown names to Skyline Ranch Resort.

Alex Fedoryka said that Front Royal was part of the Appaloosa Festival vision because of the meaningful Fedoryka family roots there, but also worked well since the area was able to house fans and followers, with even more room to grow in 2016.

“We wanted to introduce everybody to the beauty that we had,” he said. “It really was an ideal venue for the festival.”

According to press manager Brian Lohmann, the finalized Appaloosa Festival lineup will be up on the website by today, with special reduced ticket rates for previous attendees and early birds to come soon after. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/hj45csw.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com