Your Guide to Staunton’s Summer Music Festivals: 2019

Your Guide to Staunton’s Summer Music Festivals: 2019

Look no further than Staunton for live music this summer. We’ll thrill your ears with traditional country music, roots rock, blues, chamber music, and everything in between. Planning your festival experience will involve some coordination, so check out our festival guide for insider tips and must-see performances.

11th Annual Shenandoah Valley Wine & Jazz Festival

June 22, 4-9 p.m. at the Frontier Culture Museum

Looking for something to do in that quiet time before the 4th of July? Save the date for the 11th annual Wine and Jazz Festival at the Frontier Culture Museum. Relax for an evening of music and wines from the Shenandoah Valley. Food and other vendors with also be on site. 

Fan Favorite:

Make sure you check out opening act Chrome-Tweed playing from 5-6:30. The Luray-based band will treat you to “their own jazzy twist on familiar tunes.”

Must See:

Headliner Randy Johnston, one of the most “widely recorded and prolific guitarists of his generation,” plays from 7-9:30. Enjoy his guitar and vocals as he plays original compositions as well as standards and blues standards.

Have a Listen:

Randy Johnson sings “Don’t Think Twice.”

Happy Birthday America Featuring Wilson Fairchild

July 3 – 4

Bring the family to Gypsy Hill Park this Independence Day for Happy Birthday America. Check out the Happy Birthday America Pageant on June 30. The party continues on July 3rd with entertainment (TBA) and a vesper service. Things will get going early on July 4th with the Firecracker 5K, followed by the Happy Birthday America Parade. Spend the afternoon enjoying concessions, playing in community baseball games, and listening to the Stonewall Brigade Band. Look for music by local artists starting at 5 p.m. The headline performance by Wilson Fairchild joined by The Malpass Brothers will get underway at 7:30.

When & Where:

Sunday, June 30th (pageant), Wednesday, July 3rd and Thursday, July 4th

John Moxie Stadium and Fairgrounds Lot at Gypsy Hill Park

Must See:

The headline performance by homegrown, country group, Wilson Fairchild—sons of Harold and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers—starts at 7:30 p.m. This year, Wilson Fairchild welcomes special guests The Malpass Brothers. The Malpass Brothers performing traditional country music, has toured with legends like Merle Haggard. This performance promises to be high energy and entertaining. Stick around after the concert for fireworks!  

Have a Listen:

Wilson Fairchild sings “Ready For Times to Get Better.”

The Malpass Brothers sing “I’ve Found Someone to Love.”

Before You Go:

  • See the complete schedule.
  • This event is free and open to the public.
  • Bring your lawn chair and plan to join the “chair dash” for the best seats. Line up starts on July 3 at 11 p.m. and gates open at 6 a.m. on July 4.
  • The parade starts at 10 a.m. on July 4. There is no spectator parking on Thornrose Avenue until after the parade.
  • No pets, umbrellas, tents, coolers, or alcohol allowed in the concert area.

Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts

June 29 – August 9

Add live music to your summer schedule with the Heifetz Institute’s Festival of Concerts. The festival, made up of 46 concerts “ranging form Baroque Opera to chamber music to the multi-genre Heifetz Hootenannies” starts on June 29. The music doesn’t stop until August 9. The six-week festival consists of concerts, outdoor events, “Heifetz Happy Hours” featuring local wine and artisan food, 169 students hailing from around the world, and special performances featuring world-renowned faculty and guest artists.

Fan Favorite:

You never know who might show up and play at a Saturday night Heifetz Hootenanny! Enjoy great food and brews (including “Hootbrü…”) during the multi-genre show under the big tent. Last year’s entertainment included “hula hoops, a Chinese Gong, and gut-bucket blues.”  

When & Where:

Saturdays: 7/6, 7/13, 7/20, 7/27, 8/3

7:30 p.m.

Page Terrace, Mary Baldwin University

Must See:  

Heifetz Celebrity Series is a fun Friday night tradition! Experience Heifetz Institute faculty members performing entertaining 75-minute programs. The series includes work by such composers as Bach, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Handel, Elgar,  Schoenberg, Beethoven, Paganini, and Schubert. The concerts begin at 6, and your ticket includes a happy hour reception under the Page Terrace tent with complimentary wine from local vineyards and artisan foods from local eateries. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m.

When & Where:

Fridays: 7/5, 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2

Happy Hour Receptions: 5 p.m., Page Terrace

Concerts: 6 p.m., Francis Auditorium, Mary Baldwin University

Have a Listen:

Check out this video of Heifetz students playing Tchaikovsky during the 2017 Grand Finale performance:

Here’s a video of last year’s performance of Joaquín Turina’s “Andalusian Scenes,” performance by violist Gilad Karni, pianist Stefan Petrov, and the student Shenandoah Quartet.

Check out this video of 10-year-old Pauline Lee playing the energetic “Orange Blossom Special” while flawlessly hula hooping at a 2018 Hootenanny.

Before You Go:

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

July 12 – 14

The seventh annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival is your chance to enjoy wonderful music in a spectacular location. The towering limestone Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon set the stage for the music of The Steel Wheels, Lucinda Williams, The Wood Brothers, Mandolin Orange, and many more. Camp in the Natural Chimney’s campground and enjoy a wealth of outdoor activities designed for multiple age and skill levels. These include daily group bike rides, hikes, morning yoga, fun runs and activities for kids. Your entire family will have fun at this festival, whether you come for the day or the whole weekend.

Must See:

Three-time Grammy winner, Lucinda Williams, will perform her classic Car Wheels on a Gravel Road album in its entirety along with “visual elements to enhance the storyteller style.”  Williams will perform a second set made up of music from throughout her career.

Fan Favorites:

The Steel Wheels’ sets are always popular, particularly the Tribute Set on Sunday other artists performing Red Wing join them. The Judy Chops high-energy blend of blues, swing, rock-a-billy, and country is also a fan favorite.

Have a Listen:

Check out Grammy-nominated foursome Della Mae’s track “Empire.”

You’ll also like the Birds of Chicago performing “Real Midnight.”

Before You Go:

  • Click here for the complete 2019 line-up.
  • Buy tickets here.
  • Festival camping at Natural Chimneys is an obvious choice, but options are quickly selling out. Fortunately, several area campgrounds have availability. Also, consider lodging options in Staunton, which run the gamut from B&Bs, to Inns and full-service hotels.
  • Bring your reusable bottle to fill with free water – no water will be sold in plastic bottles.
  • To reduce the festival’s carbon footprint, drinks, beer and cider will only be served in Red Wing Roots stainless steel cups. Buy one in the  beer garden, or reuse your cup from last year.
  • All food vendors use bio-based, disposable food service items. Make sure you recycle.
  • Bring your dancin’ shoes!

Second Annual Valley Beach Music Festival

July 13, 2-9 p.m. at the Club at Ironwood

Come dance to the jams of The Tams, the Bootsie Daniels Band, the “vintage 60s rock ‘n’ soul” of Little Walter and the Convictions, and more at the second annual Valley Beach Music Festival. It will be set against the beautiful backdrop of the Club at Ironwood with easy access to the interstate. 

Have a Listen:

The Bootsie Daniels Band performs “Love Train.”

Before You Go:

  • Buy tickets here.
  • The event will occur rain or shine.
  • Bring your lawn chairs.
  • No coolers or pets allowed.
  • Bring your printed ticket and ID if you plan to buy alcohol.

Shenandoah Valley Blues & Virginia Brews Festival

July 20, 2-9 p.m. at the Club at Ironwood

Come enjoy the Blues, tasty brews, and The Club at Ironwood’s panaramic views of the Blue Ridge at the 11th Annual Shenandoah Valley Blues & Virginia Brews Festival. Spend the afternoon listening to the Ally Venable Band, Bob Margolin, Sun-Dried Opossum, and more while enjoying the scenery and a wide variety of local BBQ, craft vendors, and beer from Virginia microbreweries. 

Fan Favorite: 

Sun-Dried Opposum’s guitar-driven rock-n-roll and high-energy live performances will keep you dancing! 

Must See: 

Don’t miss the Ally Venable Band, whom Good Times Magazine calls “The hottest new guitarist in blues music.”

Have a Listen: Check out this video of Ally Venable.

Before You Go:

  • Buy tickets here. Kids under 12 are free.
  • Bring your lawn chairs.
  • No coolers or pets allowed.

Staunton Music Festival

August 16 – 25

The Staunton Music Festival celebrates its 22nd year with a 10-day chamber music festival. Musical selections will represent 600 years of music ranging from the middle ages to world premieres. Over 100 musicians will perform during the festival in both large and small ensembles in a variety of locations throughout historic downtown Staunton.

Fan Favorite:

The festival’s concluding performance of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is considered “one of the most powerful musical works of all time.” Carsten Schmidt conducts the finale performance, which will feature period instruments.

When & Where:

Sunday, August 25, 4 p.m.

Must See:

The festival opens with Theodora, a masterpiece of Baroque opera by Handel, which premiered in the mid-1700s. This dramatic, semi-staged performance directed by Timothy Nelson will feature period instruments conducted by Carsten Schmidt.  

When & Where:

Friday, August 16, 7:30 p.m.; pre-concert talk at 6:40

Trinity Episcopal Church

Another big event is the performance of Asto Piazzolla’s tango opera Maria de Beunos Aires, also conducted by Casten Schmidt.

When & Where:

Saturday, August 24, 7:30 p.m.; pre-concert talk at 6:40

Trinity Episcopal Church

Have a Listen:

Francis Poulenc’s L’Histoire de Babar (The Story of Babar) is performed at the 2018 Staunton Music Festival.

Benjamin Britten’s Nocturne Op. 60 is performed at last year’s festival. 

Before You Go:

  • Free concerts daily; All other concerts range from $10-32
  • Brochure/Calendar of Events
  • Tickets and 2019 Summer Passes
  • For lodging and to plan your trip to Staunton, click here; the festival will announce new dining and lodging deals as the season gets closer
  • Check the Staunton Music Festival website or social media pages for the latest info.