Scythian starts music festival

Bluegrass and folk music enthusiasts can spend a Labor Day weekend vacation at the Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal for the first Appaloosa Festival, hosted by D.C.-area band Scythian.

Festival director Terrence McKeegan said that for the first year, Scythian and other event organizers wanted to establish the festival in a big way – the lineup on their website lists 24 artists performing on three different stages throughout the weekend.

Scythian founding members Alex and Dan Fedoryka wanted to bring their listeners back to their family’s hometown of Front Royal for an event that combines folk and country music with recreation into a family friendly escape.

“Music connects people in a way that few other things can,” McKeegan said. “People in the cities are looking for a break in their daily routine.”

Through a network of bands and artists, Scythian combined multiple talents for country, folk, Celtic, bluegrass and roots – as well as talents for event hosting as a whole. The band has hosted several events in and around the D.C. metro area, and they’ve worked with event coordinators at events like MerleFest and the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, including elements from those festivals into Appaloosa.

“They’re about music among friends, and they’re about music that is accessible to everyone,” McKeegan said.

Attendees can overnight at the sponsor Ramada Strasburg hotel for a discounted rate or get closer to nature in onsite in cabins, chalets, RVs sites, rentals or on campsites.

Besides the daytime performances and activities, the Friday evening festival rehearsal dinner and acoustic bonfire set will give attendees a chance to connect with Scythian and the other musicians and late night jams on Saturday and Sunday will provide a more informal setting for those with tickets to get acquainted with and even play alongside them.

McKeegan said the festival leaves Monday open for attendees from out of town to venture forth into area parks, wineries or other attractions before heading home.

One-day tickets for general admission are $25 for adults, but discounts get down to $20 and package deals with mounting benefits range up to a six-person Appaloosa Founder deal for $3,000 that includes a weekend stay in a chalet. Day parking will be $10 and options like camping and the late night jams will cost extra.

McKeegan said the festival is committed to donating 10 percent of all proceeds to nonprofit organizations. For the inaugural festival, they’ll be donating to Veterans of Foreign Wars and Little Sisters of the Poor.

Appaloosa organizers are hoping to mark Front Royal as a trusty destination for their weekend escape in the years to come. While McKeegan said they aren’t seeking to expand their performer count much more for the sake of venue capacity, they want to deepen the sense of community and camaraderie at the festival.

“We’d like to offer classes for young musicians by our experienced musicians; workshops at the festival,” he said.

Between the wide array of up-and-coming artists and the strong foundation in Scythian, McKeegan has been anticipating a wave of enthusiasm for the first Appaloosa Festival.

“I think the thing about Scythian…is that they are one of the highest energy bands I’ve ever come across,” he said. “They really put so much into what they do and they’re the best band I’ve ever seen about getting the crowd upon its feet.”

Learn more about the festival and see the full artist lineup at

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or

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