MOUNT SOLON — Red Wing Roots Music Festival is returning to Natural Chimneys Park in Mount Solon for its seventh year July 12-14 with an added stage and a new camping area.
More than 40 bands will perform during the weekend-long festival, which draws fans of folk, Americana and roots music who connect with nature through hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and yoga activities. The festival, hosted by the members of The Steel Wheels, also includes food trucks, craft vendors and kids activities.
Red Wing’s new 16-by-14-foot stage, called the Hill Stage, forms a scenic natural amphitheater, according to Jeremiah Jenkins, managing partner with Black Bear Productions, the group that organizes the festival each year.
“It offers views across the Valley and this stage will be a really beautiful, pleasant setting for artists to come and do some acoustic sets and collaborations,” Jenkins said. “It’s a little bit more intimate of a stage with this really pretty setting.”
Last year, the festival added a large timber frame stage.
The new camping area, called Chimney Ridge, is adjacent to the park and offers festivalgoers more overnight stay options.
“We’re not making Red Wing any bigger this year, but this new camping area allows more folks to camp with us all three days,” he said. “Camping was always sold out all three days in the past.”
This year’s headliner is legendary singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, who will perform her entire Grammy Award-winning album “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road” in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The 2019 lineup also features The Wood Brothers, Peter Rowan, The Tim O’Brien Band, Della Mae, The Steel Wheels, Charley Crockett, The Lil Smokies and Kaia Kater.
Jenkins is particularly looking forward to seeing the return of folk duo Mandolin Orange, who will be playing Red Wing for the third time.
“We’re very excited to bring Mandolin Orange back,” he said. “This year they’ll be playing on the main stage with their full band. They’ve really been gaining some steam in the last couple years. We know that’s going to be wonderful.”
Jenkins said Red Wing isn’t just about the headline acts, but all of the different artists and musicians who come from across the country.
Two acts are coming up from Louisiana: Feufollet and Cedric Watson Trio. Watson is a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer-songwriter and accordionist.
“They’ll be bringing some Cajun flavor to Red Wing this year, which is exciting,” Jenkins said.
In addition to nationally touring acts, the festival also books a handful of locally grown bands each year. Those include The Judy Chops, Dogwood Tales, Justin Jones and The Walking Roots Band this year.
The Steel Wheels will be performing all three days of the festival. The release of their seventh album, “Over the Trees,” on July 12 coincides with the seventh year of Red Wing.
“I would say it’s probably one of our more daring albums to date,” said guitarist and banjoist Trent Wagler, a founding member of The Steel Wheels. “This is the first record where we have Kevin Garcia, our drummer, a part of the whole process. I think you hear a lot of new rhythms and percussion that haven’t been a part of the records before.”
Garcia joined the band two years ago. The Steel Wheels’ last album was released in May 2017.
Wagler said fans can expect to hear the harmonies for which the band is known.
“Over the Trees” was recorded in a historic farmhouse in rural Maine last December.
“We were holed up for 11 straight days recording music,” he said. “It was a really fun process and a very creative time. I wouldn’t do it any other way.”
The Steel Wheels will play songs off the new album during their four Red Wing sets. Copies of the album will be there to purchase, but fans can also pre-order the album online through the band’s website.
Various outdoor activities will be happening throughout the weekend. Four group bike rides will be offered for different skill levels, taking place around the festival grounds, Reddish Knob or the Stokesville Campground family bike trails.
Hikes will be offered on the Chestnut Ridge Trail, Grooms Ridge Trail and the Wild Oak Trail to the North River Gorge.
VA Momentum is partnering with Red Wing for two Saturday morning runs: a 3-mile trail run across from Natural Chimneys Park and a 6.5-mile road run.
The Appalachian Forest School will be available to kids ages 3 to 7 for the first time. For two hours, the kids will have opportunities to play in nature and explore the outdoors.
The success of Red Wing over the past seven years is due, in part, to the music culture it has built in the community, Wagler said.
“We try to make it a very personal festival,” he said. “It started here with our band The Steel Wheels. There’s not another festival like it and we have personality and aspects to it that are all our own. People want to be a part of something that feels authentic and genuine that isn’t some kind of money-grabbing pop-up festival. It was us musicians that have families that wanted to have something that’s part of a musical legacy.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, less than 200 three-day tickets were left for $149 apiece. Single-day tickets for Saturday have already sold out. Friday single-day tickets are still available for $59 or $49 for Sunday only.
For more information, visit www.redwingroots.com.