What are you doing on August 23rd and 24th? I’m sure the first thought that pops into mind is college football, but while it technically does start that weekend the four-game slate is lacking in quality teams or quality matchups so no need to plan around it.

So, what should you be doing? Given the lineup of the inaugural Lynchburg Music Fest I would suggest making plans to head to Moore County and join in the fun. Founded by Lynchburg native Jonny Hill, this is the first music festival of a sizable, multi-day nature to utilize the picturesque downtown of historic Lynchburg as its setting. Lynchburg has several claims to fame, chief amongst them Jack Daniels.

Now the slip of a town adds music to its streets.

Hill, a mechanical engineer at Nissan and GM, decided to pursue his country music dream after a series of tragedies befell his family. I think some people draw back into themselves and wallow in the pain while others use it as a catalyst for something new. For Hill it was jumping into the highly competitive world of the Nashville singer-songwriter.

Quickly realizing the market was saturated, Hill regrouped and realized that he could pioneer a new market and carve a path for himself and like-minded artists. Putting the focus on his hometown, he partnered with fellow businessman and music lover Marshall Liles to focus on publishing and promoting his music, but it quickly grew into something more. With Liles, he set up showcases, and has invested time and money into publishing and recording a stable of songwriters under the banner of Igniter Productions. From these humble beginnings the dream of putting on a musical festival was born, and Hill’s vision will be realized when fans flock to the streets of Lynchburg the last weekend of August to take in the sounds of country and bluegrass music’s finest.

The lineup is a well curated mix of country and bluegrass acts with Easton Corbin (“A Little More Country Than That” “I Can’t Love You Back” “Roll With It”) and Jamey Johnson (“In Color” “High Cost of Living” “Playing the Part”) headlining Friday and Saturday night respectively.

Corbin, with a sound that is instantly recognizable, should prove to be a crowd favorite while Johnson, with his no-nonsense approach to his craft will surely find himself right at home in the birthplace of Jack Daniels. But the fun does not stop there as there are numerous must hear artists sharing the bill with Corbin and Johnson.

Bluegrass/Newgrass stalwart Sam Bush will be holding court, and given his mastery of the mandolin and the fiddle I am sure he will be a crowd pleaser. You may remember Cassadee Pope; she won season three of The Voice and has spent the last seven years pursuing a career in country music. Joe Diffie, who still has a fine head of hair, exploded on the scene in the early 90s and is responsible for 35 singles making the Billboard Chart. Fan favorites like “John Deere Green” “Third Rock from the Sun” “Pickup Man” and “Bigger Than The Beatles” will probably be in the mix that weekend.

David Lee Murphy, the man responsible for a personal favorite with “Dust on the Bottle” not to mention a ton of songs he wrote for other artists like Jake Owen’s “Anywhere With You”, Chesney’s “Living in Fast Forward” , Jason Aldean’s “Big Green Tractor” and “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” by Thompson Square will also be on hand. Hitmakers Montgomery Gentry, RaeLynn (another contestant from The Voice), Craig Campbell, Keith Anderson and Lee Gibson round out the larger font artists on the event poster. In addition, you will find a host of talented country and bluegrass artists vying for your attention during the multi-day, multi-stage event.

Besides the music what is there to do?

After looking at their website it looks like quite a bit of thought has gone into selecting vendors for the festival so the onsite offerings should be worth your time and attention. In addition to what looks like an excellent VIP option, you also have a choice of two day as well as single day tickets. If you are so inclined, there is camping of the tent and RV kind in the area with free shuttle service to the festival.

My wife thinks camping is a hotel with doors on the outside, so I probably won’t be roughing it that particular weekend. I imagine you will have questions regarding times, prohibited items and the like so please check out the event website, and pay special attention to the FAQ section at www.lynchburgmusicfest.com . Given today’s crowded festival scene it is refreshing to see someone try to find a new location and bring their vision to life.

The Lynchburg Music Fest has all the makings of a great time and I hope to see y’all there in August.

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