Appaloosa Festival: Spend Labor Day Weekend with Great Music and Beautiful Scenery

Appaloosa Festival (Photo Credit: Danielle Lussier)

If you need a great way to cap off summer in the D.C area that gets you a little​ ways out of town ​and allows you to experience some of the best scenery that we have to offer close by, consider spending your Labor Day weekend at Appaloosa Festival.  Five miles from the entrance to Skyline Drive on an old horse farm, which is where the festival gets its name – Appaloosa being a breed of horse – this festival has so much to offer for a great weekend semi-staycation.  Winners of the Virginia Tourism Coorporation’s ‘Virginia is for Music Lover’s’ Grant, organizers and brothers Dan and Alex Fedoryka have an inside track (pun intended) on what attendees and musicians want out of a music festival.

Appaloosa Festival (Photo Credit: Craig Spiering)

Appaloosa Festival (Photo Credit: Craig Spiering)

Both members of one of the bands that will be performing this year, Scythian, Dan and Alex, decided that they didn’t want to have to travel far in order to perform at a great festival. Because of this, Appaloosa Festival was born.  Blending bluegrass, traditional Celtic and some other very unique sounds onto one lineup draws folks from near and far.  The fact that the location, in Front Royal, is also halfway between New York and Nashville also piques the interest of a wide range of travelers.  Pair that with the beauty of Skyline Drive and the Shenandoah and you’ve got a trifecta that can’t be beat.   “It’s a real communal feel where a lot of the locals want to welcome people into their community.  The atmosphere is electric ​intermingling with people,” says Dan of the Front Royal community.

Appaloosa Festival (Photo Credit: Danielle Lussier)

Photo Credit: Danielle Lussier

Virginia grown in as many ways as you can imagine, attendees can expect to see the sights of and sample the tastes of Virginia as well.  A beer garden sponsored by Virginia based Starr Hill, Bold Rock Cider and Rappahannock Winery, an award winning Virginia wine, will be offering spirits to those 21 and over, but if you think that this festival is just for folks looking to imbibe, think again.  Kids under 12 are free with a kids village conveniently placed in view from the beer garden to make the best of both worlds possible.  “We have a ton of kids running around, but then, because the lineup is kind of cutting edge, we have a lot of young professionals that come out for a camping weekend.  It’s a really interesting dynamic.  It’s not just one age group, it’s a lot of different age groups intermingling,” notes Dan proud of the appeal to a wide diversity of folks. 

Wanting to give back and return the favor to locals that have welcomed Appaloosa for the past three years, organizers even started a 501(c)3 ABAF which stands for Appaloosa Blueridge Arts Foundation.  Growing up in an area where live music was scarce, Dan wanted to provide a space for young and old alike to be able to experience live music as well as participate in workshops, which also happen at the festival. 

Appaloosa Kid Zone (Appaloosa Festival (Photo Credit: Danielle Lussier)

Appaloosa Kid Zone (Appaloosa Festival (Photo Credit: Danielle Lussier)

Even more, local Front Royal business, Strong Oaks Woodshop, when hearing of the desire to build a permanent stage, wanted to be the ones to provide the wood.  Despite having lost everything in a fire, woodshop owner Michael Schmiedicke, who also happen to be Dan’s first employer in college, was adamant about providing the wood.  Seizing the opportunity to show that this festival really is all about community, Bold Rock Cider jumped at the chance to purchase all the wood to raise the barn looking stage for the festival and everyone chipped in.  Watch the video of this beautiful permanent structure get erected here.

Attendees will also be able to take relaxation to another level as Eno hammocks will also be onsite providing lounge areas for people wanting to ​end their summer in true chill-out style, ​with Eno pods and an entire hammock village that you can hang out in.   There's a lineup of twenty plus bands including a heavy serving of Celtic and bluegrass bands, including workshops and The Boyle School of Irish Dance treating festival goers to a look at some very talented moves.   Improved camping sites, an expanded VIP section and a night of free music for anyone who decides to head out Friday to get the fun going are all what Appaloosa is doing bigger and better in 2018.

Festival Videos:

The following videos are courtesy of Appaloosa Music Festival's YouTube Channel.

August 31 - September 2 (Labor Day Weekend)

Starts: 6;00 PM August 31

Ends: 10:00 AM September 3

Appaloosa Festival (

Skyline Ranch Resort
751 Mountain Road
Front Royal, VA 22630 (Google Maps Link)

About the author
Karin McLaughlin

Karin McLaughlin

Karin has been a live music junkie all her life, however is a fairly new fan in the world of jam bands and bluegrass. She grew up on hip hop, classic soul, motown and classic rock but has found a new home in the festival world and that is what, in part, had brought her to DC Music Review. Karin produces and hosts a weekly radio show in the area called Karin's Calendar, where she talks all about 'Where to be in the DMV'. She is very excited to be starting down a semi-new road with us and hopes to use her interview skills and write ups of shows to contribute even more to DC Music Review.

DC Music Review