Music And Barbecue Festival Set To Return Aug. 23

Posted: August 7, 2014

Daily News-Record

Judge Blair Smith of Annapolis, Md., savors a rib before tasting Aug. 24, 2013, during the Blue Ridge Music and BBQ Festival. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R, File)
The second annual Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival will feature a barbecue taste-tournament and a “Battle of the Bands.” (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R, File)

Chance Cooper is no stranger to barbecue competitions. Throughout the past four years, Cooper’s showcased his talents at taste-tournaments across the East Coast. Along the way, he’s collected awards and recognitions.

What started as a hobby led to a business, as Cooper and his business partner, Dan Chapman, started the Flavor Savor BBQ food truck, often found in a gravel parking lot on Harrisonburg’s East Market Street.

But now, Cooper’s again set his eyes on the prize: the third annual Blue Ridge Music and BBQ Festival slated for 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.

Cooper’s planning to participate in the festival’s Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned competition.

“This [competition] is special, because it’s in our own backyard,” explained Cooper, who led Flavor Savor to first place honors during Grillin’ at the Pavilion, the annual July 4 barbecue competition in downtown Harrisonburg. “It’s a hometown event, so we’ve got a lot to live up to.

“We want to take home the top prize.”

But Flavor Savor BBQ will be just one of nearly 40 teams set to square off. During the competition, slated for noon-2 p.m., judges will be on hand to sample and then rate the barbecue based on taste, texture and presentation. The top five in each of the four categories — pork, beef, poultry and ribs — will receive prizes. The grand champion will take home $1,000 cash.

The competition will also feature a “People’s Championship” round, during which 100 spectators will serve as judges, voting for the 2014 People’s Champion.

Last year’s competition drew more than 25 competitors, according to Frank Tamberrino, president and CEO of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce. He hopes this year’s event will exceed those standards.

“The barbecue teams are truly part of the event,” explained Tamberrino. “So, our attendees get an up-close and personal feel for what the teams are doing and how each one has their own unique technique.”

The barbecue cook-off, however, won’t be the only competition featured that day.

For the second year, the festival will also feature a “Battle of the Bands,” with eight regional bands vying. Last year, the Christian Lopez Band took first place.

The music will lend itself to a variety of audiences, says Rebekah Painter, communications director for HRCC. Painter also noted that festival officials aim to bring in bands with differing sounds.

“We’re not bringing in the bands that are commanding $40,000 a year,” explained Tamberrino. “They’re just local bands that like to play at bars, weddings or wherever else they can.”

The winner will receive a production package from Blue Sprocket Sound in Harrisonburg and earn a performance slot at next May’s Valley Fest.

The event will also feature children’s events, an antique car show, beer tastings, and live entertainment. Food vendors will be on site, as well.

“This is a nice, family-friendly event intended for everybody,” said Tamberrino.

“Plus, you’ll be able to smell the barbecue as you [enter] the fairgrounds, which will really get you going from the start.”

Tickets are $7 in advance; $10 at the gate. Children age 10 and younger admitted free. Tickets are available at or HRCC, located at 800 Country Club Road, Harrisonburg.

Contact Matt Gonzales at 574-6265 or

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