Rock Out(side) in the Shenandoah Valley: Best Live Summer Music
July 13, 2021
The Shenandoah Valley is packed with ways to get outside to soak up the sun and breathe the fresh air. You’ve planned a trip incorporating hiking, biking, touring vineyards, farm-to-table dining…how about relaxing at the end of a hot day with some sizzling live music? Here’s a roundup of our favorite places to set up the lawn chairs and enjoy views, live music, food, craft beer, and more.
Berryville’s Rose Hill Park hosts a Music in the Park concert series on alternating Friday nights through the end of August from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Grab some takeout or pre-order a Dinner in the Park boxed meal to munch while you watch. The free concerts span a range of genres. A Blue Ridge Avalanche, Nita and Friends, Clarke County Community Band, and Keith Patterson & the Grizzlies are all part of the lineup.
Summer entertainment at the Clarke County Fairgrounds includes Summer Jam Love, Peace, & Togetherness on July 10 from noon-10 p.m. You’ll hear music by Train Wreck, Souled Out, iRon Lion with the Knotty Lionz Band, and Bryan Shepherd. Fans of bluegrass will want to head back to the fairgrounds on September 16-18th for the 17th annual Watermelon Pickers’ Fest. Get ready for a family friendly weekend of camping, food, vendors, dancing and music by grammy-award winners The Infamous Stringdusters. Also performing are Béla Fleck, Town Mountain, Sierra Hull, Bryan Sutton, and many more.
Winchester and Frederick County
Local artists provide the soundtrack at West Oaks Farm Market. Check the schedule for afternoon and evening performances each weekend. Shop the market, pick up a meal at the deli, and hang out a while. The performances and space is family friendly, and there’s even a play area to help the youngsters burn off some energy. If you’re into authentic bluegrass music, you can’t miss the free bluegrass concerts every Thursday evening through the summer and fall at The Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard. Bring your own lawn chairs, and if you want, you can purchase a full homemade dinner (meal, dessert and drink) from the market.
Briede Family Vineyards makes delicious and sustainable wines. Visitors will not only get to peruse the selection of tasty wines including Governor’s Cup silver medalists Arandell and Sparkling Winchester, but the vineyard schedules a regular calendar of live music. Enjoy the sweet voice of Melanie Pearl on Fridays as well as a selection of other artists like Irish Music Band, David Andrew Smith, and Kimberly Burke.
James Charles Winery & Vineyard often has live local music on Fridays and Saturdays, regularly drawing on the talent pool of Shenandoah University. Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery, too, has live music on the weekends. And if you’re more interested in showcasing your own musical chops, check out the weekly open mic and karaoke night at Blue Fox Billiards!
For over 50 years, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival has been bringing award-winning artists in a variety of genres to Shrine Mont in Orkney Springs, a historic retreat set against Great North Mountain. This year, nine outdoor concerts will rock the stage over several weekends in July, August, and September. The lineup includes big names like The Four Tops, KANSAS, and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Concert attendees can bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn before the show or enjoy food from the Shrine Mont dining room.
Southern rock/progressive country favorite The Marshall Tucker Band is coming to the Shenandoah Valley Fairgrounds on September 2nd and showing off the music that’s earned them seven gold and three platinum albums in their 40+ years of recording and touring. This concert promises to have you on your feet singing along and dancing to the hits. Jo Dee Messina (September 3) and Mercy Me (September 4) will also perform during the Shenandoah County Fair.
Sponsored by several local businesses, New Market’s free Cross Roads Music Fest is guaranteed to be a good time. Get ready to enjoy the sounds of Rewind (July 16), Souled Out (August 20), The Seven Bends (September 3), and Thieves of Burden (September 17th) as well as a lineup of food trucks and local beers, wines, and ciders.
The Riley Park Outdoor Concert Series will rock Woodstock’s Riley Park Event Lawn on July 23 with bluegrass-style blues, rock, and hip hop artists Many Nights Ahead. On August 13 the Jack Dunlap Band will play bluegrass. Bring a picnic. Music starts at 7.
Grab the blankets and chairs and set up on the outdoor stage for Strasburg’s Front Porch Fridays concert series, ongoing between now and September. Local and regional bands performing this summer include The Waysiders, Alex Key + the Locksmiths, and Furnace Mountain Band. Food truck favorites will be onsite on the first Friday of each month, and September 3 is Kids’ Night with Tyler the Magician.
Shenandoah County breweries and vineyards that regularly host live music:
People come from all over to party down at the Appaloosa Music Festival. This year, it’s happening on the weekend of August 13-15. Come for the day or camp and make a weekend out of it. Scythian, Dustbowl Revival, Young Dubliners, Yarn, and many more will rock the stage at Skyline Ranch Resort. This family-friendly festival is known for fantastic music, camping under the stars, unique and high-quality food, yummy beer, dancing, craft and other vendors, and lots of fun.
Blue Ridge Arts Council’s Gazebo Gatherings Summer Concert Series fills Thursday nights with live music through August 19. Plan an evening of shopping, dining, and listening to music all in downtown Front Royal. All concerts are free and start at 7 p.m. Come for oldies, rock, folk, and a fun show by Vinyl Tracks, a Beatles tribute band.
Luray’s Evenings on Main concert series at Ruffner Plaza will pump up the downtown crowd this summer. Free concerts will be held on select Friday nights from 7-9 p.m. through September 24. Make plans to see Cazhmiere, The Robbie Limon Band, Blue Ridge Thunder, and others.
The Regional Center for Performing of Arts of Luray (PAL) holds events throughout the year, including the August 14 performance of Waking Napster, which will help you reconnect with your 90s sensibilities with covers of your favorite songs from those years. Also be on the lookout for shows by the Main Street Singers.
Take a trip to the country: visit Stanley’s Wisteria Vineyard, a small, family-owned winery that produces all its wine from site-raised grapes. The Music Under the Arbor series, which runs through October, features local artists playing their hits on Saturday afternoons from 3-5 p.m. Visitors can relax on the deck with wine and a picnic listening to Emily Julia Kresky, Haze & Dacey, Michael McCray and more. Kiddos will get a kick out of the sheep and free-range chickens. Castle Vineyards in Luray provides wines from Barren Ridge Vineyards by the flight or bottle. Take in the incredible views of the Blue Ridge as you relax in the tasting room or outside on the porch or patio. Check social media for upcoming live music and food truck schedules!
Take a scenic drive to Heard’s Cedar Hill Farm Market in Bentonville, which sells lots of local products like fresh products, meats, baked goods, and crafts. In fact, their slogan is “From our Valley to your table.” The market hosts live music on the fourth Saturday of each month from 3-6 p.m.
Did you know that the Rockingham County Fair is the largest annual event in the Shenandoah Valley? Along with animals, rides, exhibits, food, and other fun, it will feature four nights of live music from “gospel dream team” Jimmy Fortune, Bradley Walker, Mike Rogers, and Ben Isaacs (August 15), Tracy Lawrence (August 16), Jimmie Allen with Matt Stell (August 17), and HARDY with The Hackens Boys (August 18).
The slopes of Massanutten will ring with live music on September 18 during the 20th annual ValleyFest Beer & Wine Festival. Sing along to country music singer/songwriter Michael Christopher and bust a move to the mixes of DJ FINKS. Bombshell RVA and Fleetwood Macked will raise everyone’s spirits with crowd-pleasing covers and audience interaction. Enjoy the music, eat your fill of festival food, taste craft beer and wine, and browse the vendor booths. Purchase tickets in advance or at the gate.
Rockingham County breweries and vineyards that regularly host live music:
- Bluestone Vineyard (Toast the Weekend)
- CrossKeys Vineyards
- Cave Hill Farms Brewery (Fridays & Saturdays)
- Elkton Brewing Co. (Fridays & Saturdays)
- Brix and Columns Vineyards
Rockingham County localities fill the summer with live music, food, rides, activities for kids, beauty pageants, parades, fireworks, and more. Proceeds from the lawn parties support the volunteer fire departments and other good causes.
Celebrate music and faith at the 6th annual Sing Me High Music Festival on the weekend of August 27-28. This event brings fun, food, fellowship and faith-based music to the entire family. The Walking Roots Band will be the musical hosts and the name of the festival stems from their song about love for the Shenandoah Valley. Musical acts John Schmid, Ebony Nicole, Good Company, Honeytown, and more will also perform – bring your chair or blanket. During downtime, attendees can buy food and ice cream from a variety of vendors and food trucks, buy raffle tickets for a new guitar, win a pie auction, and laugh at a variety show. Kids can play on the giant slip ‘n slide. The event will be held at The Brethren & Mennonite Heritage Center and is alcohol-free.
Restaurants and breweries that host regular live music:
The annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival is coming up this weekend (July 9-11) in Natural Chimneys Park. Listen to The Steel Wheels, Tim O’Brien Band, Son Little, Ragged Mtn String Band, and over 40 more of the biggest names in folk music as they playsets on five stages. Attend the family-friendly event on a day pass or spend the entire weekend, camping in the Natural Chimney’s campground or nearby. Besides the music, the festival boasts outdoor activities like daily group bike rides, hikes around the stunning 120-foot limestone towers, morning yoga, fun runs, a climbing wall, lawn games, and other activities for kids. Enjoy a beer garden and food and craft vendors.
Restaurants and breweries that host regular live music:
Set up your chair at Constitution Park for Waynesboro Parks and Rec’s Groovin’ at the Greenway. The Thursday night concert series presents a variety of artists and genres including rock, blues, funk, swing, soul, alt-country, and more. You’ll hear the funky horns of Every Day People (July 15), the 60s and 70s flavor of the Jason Burke Band (July 22), and the American R&B of Suzie and the Pistols (July 29). Concert attendees should bring blankets or chairs and order food from the onsite food truck. Blue Ridge Children’s Museum will have activities to occupy the kids. The concerts are from 6-8 p.m.
Another venue for live music in a variety of genres is The Wayne Theatre’s Wayne on Main, which takes place on the last Wednesday of each month from 6-8 p.m. Main Street will shut to vehicular traffic so bands can set up under the marquee and the audience can safely sit in the street. Upcoming performances include Lil Bill Blue Band (July 28), The Skill Billy’s (August 25), and Blue Ridge Thunder (September 29).
Waynesboro area restaurants and breweries that regularly host live music:
- The Fishin’ Pig
- E&J’s Deli Pub (indoor)
- Plaza Antigua (new outdoor space!)
- Heritage on Main
- Benny Stivale’s
- Basic City Beer Co.
Reserve your tickets now for a concert during the Blackburn Inn’s SummerStage concert series. Spread out your blanket for music under the stars and listen to the sounds of Americana, roots, country, folk, and bluegrass bands during the weekly Friday night concerts. The concerts extend through Labor Day and will feature artists like The Quebe Sisters, David Wax Museum, Bonnie Bishop, Hackensaw Boys, and more. Reserve a picnic box from the Blackburn’s culinary department and buy a la carte local beer, cider, and wine.
Summer nights at the Gypsy Hill Park Bandstand are full of live music. On Monday nights, hear the Stonewall Brigade Band play marches and big band classics. Tuesday nights bring the sounds of southern gospel, gospel bluegrass, and contemporary gospel during the Praise in the Park concert series. Local and regional entertainers will get your toes tapping with energetic tunes and banjo picking during Wednesday night bluegrass. Relax on Thursday nights with the Jazz in the Park concert series and performers S.P.L.A.A.A.T. Quartet, The Boogie Kings, and more.
Stop by Redbeard Brewing Company on the last Saturday night of each month through October for a Live Summer Concert Series. Drink your favorite Redbeard brews while listening to the sounds of Six Shot Rebellion (July 31), The Findells (August 28), The Judy Chops (September 25), and Drägön Wägön (October 30).
Indoor and outdoor concerts are happening now through August 6 during Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts. The 50+ concerts include performances by celebrity faculty members, special guests, alumni artists, and current Heifetz students. The music will include both chamber music and the exciting multi-genre Heifetz Hootenannies.
Lexington and Rockbridge County
Come to Lexington’s magical Lime Kiln Theater Summer Concert Series for a chance to kick back and enjoy music in the trees and under the stars. Originally an abandoned lime quarry worked over a hundred years ago, the venue is now a prime spot for local, regional, and national outdoor music and performance art. This year the Lime Kiln welcomes Watkins Family Hour, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush Band and more. Click here for the entire 2021 schedule. Purchase tickets individually or spring for a season pass. Concerts extend through October 2nd. Food trucks, as well as wine and beer, will be available at the theater.
Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista hosts a full schedule of concerts and festivals, from old-time to classical, beach music to bluegrass, and gospel to rock n’roll. Performing on the stage of the pavilion, favorite shows include Beach Music Festival, Mountain Music and Dance Festival, and Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival.
Rockbridge area breweries with regular live music:
Rockbridge Vineyard & Brewery hosts live music on Sundays called “Uncorked.”