"A blog is to a writer what a canvas is to an artist." ~ Colleen Redman
- The following first appeared in the summer issue of About HER, a regional magazine insert.
Margie Scott grew up about 40 miles north of Lyme Connecticut, the namesake and epicenter of Lyme Disease (LD), a borrelia bacteria infection transmitted to humans by the bite of infected deer ticks. Like most children growing in the 1970s, when LD was first being reported, Scott remembers pulling ticks off her body, but she doesn’t recall ever seeing the circular rash ( often in the shape of a bulls-eye) that is associated with LD.
She was sickly as a child, suffering with migraine headaches and allergies, which she suspects was a result of mold exposure. In later years, other symptoms appeared and included fatigue, body pain and some cognitive impairments. Over the years, she was diagnosed with Epstein Barr, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. In spite of her diagnoses and symptoms, she managed to develop her potential and help others along the way.
In the late 1980’s, Scott began a self-help journey, living a clean lifestyle, using supplements, good nutrition and treatment therapies in an effort to manage her health challenges. She quit her job as a patient accounts manager in an OBGYN office that she felt was contributing to her chemical and environmental sensitivities. Moving to the woods of Massachusetts, she reduced her stress level, living off the grid and working at Earthlands, an environmental education and retreat center where she worked as executive administrator of programs.
After two years organizing and facilitating events at Earthlands, Scott embarked on a two-year RV road trip and then moved to Arizona, where she lived for 12 years, believing the dry climate there would improve her condition. In Arizona, she had her own business, doing yard care and home care. Later, after hours of onsite training, internet class work and practice hours, she became a certified Life Coach through Mountain Coaching in Colorado. Describing her work as a Life Coach, which she still does today, she said, “I guide individuals, couples and families through life transitions and support them in making healthy choices for happier lives.”
Building on skills that she developed running events at Earthlands, Scott also earned master certification as a Retreat Leader from Mountain Coaching. “I’ve facilitated, lead or organized over 200 events,” Scott recalled. Some of those events were self-care workshops, women’s weekends, art camps, outdoor camping weekends, a clutter clearing workshop and laughter yoga, which she is also certified to teach” she said.
More recently, Scott headed-up the first Lyme Symposium in Floyd County, where she has lived for the past four years with her partner Jay-El Fogo. The Symposium, held in May in honor of National Lyme Month, took place where Scott and Fogo live at the Floyd EcoVillage. The EcoVillage is a multi-generational intentional community focused on energy efficiency and sustainable agriculture. It is home to an event center, a lodge, campground and the Springhouse Community High School.
The Lyme Symposium, titled “Tick Talks,” featured a total of 12 presenters who shared information on the history of LD and other tick borne diseases, LD prevention guidelines, resources, techniques for emotional healing, integrative treatment approaches and more. The event drew over 100 people from the region and beyond. Many of the symposium attendees were LD patients or survivors who shared their personal stories, and some were doctors.
“What motivated me to do it was that we’re in a Lyme epidemic area here in Floyd County and when I looked around I saw that there was no support around for individuals, families or caregivers and nowhere to go to get resources beyond the doctors office,” Scott said, adding that the majority of doctors are under-trained about LD or unaware of its epidemic proportions, but that they are getting better.
A couple of years ago, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) jumped the rate of LD up from 30,000 cases a year to 300,000, a figure that doesn’t take in account how many cases go undiagnosed. “LD compromises the immune system. It’s a whole system issue. It’s not just physical or emotional but affects everything,” Scott said. She cited a Virginia Tech study of deer ticks in Giles County that found that 30% of the ticks there carry the bacteria that leads to LD.
Scott’s ability to function has fluctuated in past decades. Within a month of moving to Floyd, in the spring of 2012, she had a tick attachment. When her symptoms became intense and her knee swelled up in 2013, a Lyme literate doctor from a local clinic tested the fluid using a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test. It came back positive for LD, which Scott believes probably goes back decades and could be an indication of re-infection and co-infections.
The arthritic swelling and pain that Scott had in her knee and in other parts of her body is a typical symptom of untreated LD. The earliest cases of LD were mistaken for Juvenile Arthritis. Other LD symptoms listed by the CDC include a red circular or bullseye rash, fever and chills, neck stiffness, Bells palsy, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, sleep disturbances, heart palpitations and neurological problems. The CDC states that approximately 10 – 20% of patients with LD have symptoms that last months to years (Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome), even with antibiotic treatment.
During the time when Scott’s symptoms were at there worst, she was unable to work much, which caused her to question her identity and purpose. That’s when she decided to use her experience and skills and start The Floyd Lyme Disease Support Network. “At last count, over 100 people have come through our doors and we have 5 to 15 regulars,” Scott said. The group meets two times a month at the EcoVillage. The 2nd Wednesday of the month is an educational and awareness meeting with videos to watch or presenters, while the 4th Wednesday is a support group. Along with the Floyd group, there’s a group that recently started up in Christiansburg and one in Roanoke. One of the pluses of support groups is that members can provide recommendations for Lyme literate doctors.
Current tests to determine if you have LD are unreliable and take time, Scott stated. “If you’ve been bitten, don’t wait and see. Seek help from a Lyme literate doctor and get treatment.” A round of antibiotics can provide a cure if you catch it early. The bacteria quickly moves out of the bloodstream and into the collagenous material in the body – the muscles, tendons, joints, connective tissue – and passes the blood brain barrier.
“The best thing to do is practice prevention. It’s better to look a little nerdy than to get Lyme,” said Scott as she described wearing pants tucked into socks when in the woods and overgrown fields. Some people use essential oil spray to repel ticks, and insect repellent (permefrin) can be sprayed on clothing, which is effective through several washes. Scott recently read about a Virginia military base that was getting high rates of LD in their soldiers, and when they began imbuing the fibers of uniforms and fatigues with the insecticide rates went down to almost zero. Tick checks are also a crucial part of LD prevention. Family members can do it for each other or a mirror can be used for self-examination.
“My work is about educating people about the realities. It’s important that people understand what a serious issue this is,” said Scott, pointing out that there is a lot of misinformation out there, such as many people not realizing that 30 or 40% of LD patients never get a bullesye rash. She summed up the seriousness of LD, saying, “Southwest Virginia is becoming a hotspot for Lyme. If you’re not paying attention, it’s not a matter of if you get LD but a matter of when.”
Post Notes and Photos: 1. Scott and her partner tend to approximately 50 chickens and have a small egg production. 2. Scott, pictured in her home at the Floyd EcoVillage, is currently coaching two blended families seeking more harmonious relationships. 3. Scott introduces Steve Webber who facilitated questions for a panel of experts at the May Symposium. 4. A scene from Floyd’s first Lyme Disease Symposium at the EcoVillage. 5. Symposium panelists pictured are Jerusalem Walker, a Family Nurse Practioner at the Tri-Area Health Center in Floyd, Dr. Janine Talty (center) who has been treating Lyme patients in Roanoke for a decade, and Dr. Collins, Floyd chiropractor and author of REGENISIS: Recover Your Health. – Go to floydcountylymesupport.org for more information or visit them on Facebook. Read about the Tick Talk Symposium HERE.
1. My life right now is like my garden with everything coming in one after the other or all at once, a beach vacation, Floydfest, a birthday pond party, a moonlight canoe cruise, a blessingway for a young mother, harvesting food and a few full days with the grand kids.
2. Bryce (7) in the garden helping to pick and shuck corn: “Nana, you’re like the farmer and Hopa is the hunter. You don’t even have to go to the grocery store.”
3. Me to Bryce: Are you almost ready to go back to school? Bryce: I don’t like school. Me: I thought you liked school in the first grade and kindergarten. Bryce: No so much now. It kind of takes your time away.
4. If you take a midnight blue moon paddle down the Little River with a bunch of giggling friends and don’t have a picture to show, does that mean it didn’t happen?
5. A new take on “charge it!” HERE
6. We just checked out and watched a movie from the library called Hysteria, which is about the invention of the personal vibrator. The vibrator was the sixth domestic appliance to be electrified, after the sewing machine, fan, tea kettle and toaster and before the vacuum cleaner and electric iron.
7. A group of butterflies is a rabble, which feeds right into my suspicion that flowers are like bar stools they perch on while getting drunk on nectar. Meet my ‘BFs HERE.
8. I can tell we’re at the height of summer because my corn in 8 feet tall.
9. When it comes to corn, I’m in over my head. And these days corn husks are all over the place like an alcoholic’s empty bottles.
10. I must have a twisted sense of humor because I couldn’t stop laughing at THIS video.
11. A bucket list Japanese garden for flower lovers is HERE.
12. A crescent canoe / has fallen from the moon / Now it floats like a thought / down an unknown path / Like a needle threading myth / in a river of purpose / It shines like an arrow / in quiet darkness.
13. You Keep Me Hanging On HERE.
1. You don’t need to rub two sticks together to start a fire at Floydfest. There were fired-up performances, fire dancers, fireworks and the ritual performance lighting of an 18 foot wooden phoenix at this year’s 14th festival, rightly named Fire on the Mountain. See some photos HERE.
2. You know it’s Floydfest weekend when you drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and pass a man in kilt walking with hiking poles and a miniature terrier.
3. Another weird scene was the below group of people who plopped down in the middle of the main festival walkway to eat. I call it “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road?”
4. For someone like me, going to a festival and then discovering that your camera lens is messed up and causing all your pictures to be ruined is kind of like being geared up to make love but then finding out you have no condom or other protection.
5. Researchers have discovered kissing helps you choose the right mate and helps you live longer. We spend about two weeks of our lifetime doing it. But, according to new research, fewer than half the world’s cultures kiss in a romantic way and some actually think it is gross. – More on kissing HERE.
6. In other weird news: A Washington man involved in a two-hour standoff with police tried to hold them off with a banjo. See it HERE.
7. At first I was concerned that far right conservatives would view the self-identified socialist and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders the way the left feels about Donald Trump, but then I realized that most people from left to middle right and everything in between think Donald Trump as president is a farce.
8. In 1992, I was a delegate for presidential contender Jerry Brown, the progressive candidate at the time who started a citizen’s movement, We the People, after he lost the primary. I believe in everything Sanders stands for – ending corporations as people under Citizens United, single-payer health care insurance for all, making college affordable, equal pay for women, protecting the environment, creating policies to address climate change and more – but I’ve seen progressives surge and then fall more than once or twice. Remember Howard Dean? At least Sanders has said that he won’t run against the primary winner if he doesn’t win it, like Nadar did in what many believe was a move that cost Gore the election.
9. Times have changed: A further look at a library announcement for a celebration of Potter’s birthday revealed that the birthday was not for Peter Cottontail’s author Beatrice Potter, but for Harry.
10. I like to call my Asheville potter son a potter not named Harry.
11. My blogger friend Ron recently posted a list of 13 “Near Miss Desserts” that caused me to truly LOL and included banana spit, punk in pie, pee can pie, ala mold, Hot Sludge Sunday and more. See more HERE.
12. Last week while blogging about Floydfest, I typed the word Floydrest by mistake, which at that point, after four days of festing, was wishful thinking, I guess.
13. I’m trying to sleep but the moon has other plans / I follow its bouncing ball orbit / like reading subtitles in a foreign film / It says: Wake up and write this all down / before you lose such good reception / I’m a nightshift stenographer hired by the muse / to take down the moon’s business.
Grace Potter fired up the crowd singing Fire on the Mountain and Burning Down the House late Saturday night.
While she was doing that (and singing Rod Stewart’s Do You Think I’m Sexy disco style HERE), the giant wooden Phoenix in the main field was getting ready to be lit-up in a ritual performance of letting go of what is no longer needed.
The Phoenix and the stage lined up and were illuminated by the far reaching beams of Potter’s light show.
There were dancers from the fire troupe who were spinning and swallowing fire around the burning effigy.
At one point fireworks went off.
From there we went to hear Chris Robinson and the Brotherhood, a must see on my program list.
Billed as psychedelic rock, it could have been a ’60s or ’70s concert. Too bad for me that they went on so late (12:00 at Hill Holler) because I didn’t last the whole set but would have liked to. HERE’S a clip.
The next day I arrived in time to catch Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell playing their new songs under a wide open blue sky. I watched for myself and for my friend Bernie Coveney, who played with Emmylou in the past and who I kept expecting to show up.
There was some dancing involved, which was when I noticed that I was standing/dancing right next to my friend Katherine Devine, who I think I heard say that Emmylou was her hero. Dancing unexpectedly with Katherine was a sweet way to close out year 14 of the annual festival. I’ve been to every one and I always leave feeling blessed that it’s part of my life. Thanks Floydfest. See you next year.
It’s a five day festival. You’d think that would be enough, but there’s so much happening, sometimes simultaneously, that I just have to trust that I’ll be in the right place at the right time. I like to be surprised, but I also check out the music ahead of time and pick a few bands and events that I make a point to see.
I felt very accomplished that I made it to the annual Children’s Universe Peace Parade this year (video clip HERE). I love the fanfare and color but rarely make it for the Saturday 12:30 celebration because it’s too early for me after being up late on Thursday and Friday.
The Oh Hellos was one of the bands I had circled in my program. I first heard their song Hello My Old Heart at the end of a movie (can’t remember which one). I loved it and googled it to find out who it was and then uploaded a copy to my iPhone.
I knew them as a brother and sister act from Austin, Texas and was surprised to see how big the band was when I caught them for their 2:00 Workshop Porch performance on Saturday. The band was even bigger at the 7:00 Hill Holler Stage show where there were a lot more enthusiastic dancing antics, but that’s another story.
I was the one that requested they do Hello My Old Heart. You can hear the lead singer say in the above video that he promised to do it. The tension had built because they sang it for their last number and sort of squeezed it in. Thank you to the band for doing it and to the young man that gave me his front row seat to enjoy and film it from. He sat on the ground and sang along.
Later, when I met the siblings back stage, they couldn’t remember the movie their song was in either! We talked about being Irish because the two began making music (which has an Irish influence) after a family visit there. During the performance, he told another story of how the band got its name. Something about a drunk Irish fella trying to pick up his sister, until her mother showed up and he said to her, “Oh, Hello.” He then tried to pick up the mother too!
After the Oh Hellos, I visited the Imagine Tent/ Teen Lounge that Joe runs. It was packed with festival artists for a three hour painting, stenciling and multi media workshop with 1st generation Floydfest artist and friend Katherine Devine. Watch a video clip HERE.
Katherine’s daughter Isha was doing art workshops at the Children’s Universe and helping kids make costumes for the parade.
I finally met Mim (blue hair) of Mim’s Ukes in Meadows of Dan after seeing her presence on Facebook for a couple of years. She and her helpers had two ukulele workshops going at once at in the Global Village the Imagine Tent. Joe was in the intermediate class. Watch a clip HERE.
Somewhere in the five-day mix I have to sleep, eat and take care of myself. I’m blessed that I live 10 miles away and so can break up my Floydfest experience into 5 or 6 hours installments, sometimes coming back and forth more than once in one day.
In between Saturday’s Floydfesting and taking care of our chickens back at home, I rested by watching the old Science Fiction movie 12 Monkeys. It was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, about time travel and a virus that killed billions of people, leaving the upper planet inhabitable only for animals. That was strange because when I went back to the site I went to a 1000 Mask theater performance about the corporate takeover of the world that included a funeral memorial for endangered and extinct animals. Watch a clip HERE.
It was heartbreaking so I was glad they ended the performance with prayerful song and then a dance party. See above.
I just typed Floydrest instead of Floydfest by mistake. That’s never going to happen. Things at Floydfest were just firing up for a grand Fire on the Mountain Saturday finale (blog post coming soon). That’s Joe and Wendy from the Kind (who is doing sound in the Global Village) dancing at the 1000 Mask Theater Dance party.
Read about Floydfest Friday HERE.
A “Where’s Waldo” sea of heads bobbed for Keller Williams, the one man jam band whose quirky lyrics sometimes reminds me of Prine.
Watch them bob here.
I learned to film a video clip with one hand while drinking a beer in the other while watching The Midatlantics play. They really worked hard for their On the Rise votes in the VIP Beer Tent stage Friday. Later, I saw a couple of them walking around cool and in shorts and t-shirts as if it never happened.
The crowd was impressed. I’m just sorry I didn’t get a photo or clip of the lead singer on mandolin jumping a foot or so off the ground during a song that he said once caused a bass neck to break, but I did manage to get THIS.
This is Shovels and Rope playing on the main stage. Can you believe the woman had a big alligator design on the back of her dress? Just to confuse me, I saw another photo taken of them where she was playing guitar and he was on drums. I must have missed that part.
I love it when performers sing their hearts out. These two got close enough to kiss when they sang into one mic, and the energy they shared was very sensual. I looked it up later and found that they are a couple. HERE is a short clip of them doing “Wrecking Ball” (not the song by Miley Cyrus). Their hit song Birmingham won song of the year at the Americana Music Honors and Awards and was performed on David Letterman.
I ran into my friend Bob (aka as Bob the Builder) who was taking a picture at the 18 foot Phoenix that (in keeping with the festival theme of Fire on the Mountain) is going to be lit up Saturday night. He liked the part where someone had written Be John Lennon.
I learned that Bob built the thing (all but the head). He thought another line that read “Appreciate the Present” should have said “Appreciate the President.” So we got some chalk and wrote that together.
And then there is this.
Off to do Saturday … Read about Floydfest 2015 day 2 HERE.
It’s year 14 and the theme is Fire on the Mountain. One of the first things I noticed on my walk through the main field was this giant wooden phoenix. It’s scheduled to be set on fire after headliner Grace Potter plays Saturday night and after festival-goers write what they want to let go of on it. The Phoenix is also the name of the fest founders (Kris Hodges and Erika Johnson’s) new music venue in Roanoke, the site of the pre-festival Battle of the Bands in which one band won the chance to open for Emilylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, who will be the festival’s closing act Sunday at 5:00. I stopped and watched some kids making giant bubbles.
I took this picture in the spirit of “What’s New at Floydfest.” The tent was closed for the night but first time Floydfest tent owner said he has every instrument from auto-harp to zither that people can get hands on time with. I asked him if he had any Uileann pipes and he said, no, but that he had the U letter covered.
Floydfest is Old Home Week for many of us Floydians who have been going and working there since day one. It’s always good to meet up with friends.
The crowds were good sized but not overpowering. I think the founders have hit the right balance in promoting the limited capacity best in festivals experience. I like to take ‘Where’s Waldo?’ crowd pictures and find Floyd friends in them. Hey, there’s my friend Holly front and center at the main stage.
This (The Sam Bush band) is who Holly was dancing to.
There were several new attractions in the Performance Arts area including high wire acrobatics, fire eaters and more.
The sunset was beautiful and a good reminder of the ultimate Fire on the Mountain.
There so many music choices at Floydfest that I usually listen to band videos and pick out a few beforehand that I want to make a point to hear. This band from Charlottsville, Chamomile and Whiskey, got Joe and I up dancing at the Workshop Porch. They play a hard driving Americana/Irish fusion. The guy whose hair is flying is from Dublin. Listen HERE.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers were the night’s highlight for me. Nicki looks like Cher and sings like a Sarah Mclachlan meets Janis Joplin.
See what I mean.
1. Imagine if you had to measure your height against an amusement park ride chart to see if you were tall enough to read THIS poem.
2. A flea takes off from my runway desk / How do I know it’s not working for Delta / with little flea passengers buckled up inside / booked for vacation on some dog or cat paradise / and my hand isn’t inclement weather?
3. Sometimes a Sunday drive is a walk.
4. The moon is just going through a phase.
5. A single strand of moon / Loose curl of light / First silver hair / in a shock of dark night.
6. Watch my 7-year-old grandson Bryce give his Hopa “a cannonball piece of love” HERE.
7. The picture I wished I took last week but was too lazy to get up and snap was of a scene I saw at the pool. There was a group of little kids sitting on the pool’s edge during “adult swim” and shouting “splash us,” while the over 18 kids did cannonballs off the diving board next to them. It was almost as cool as another pool scene I saw years ago and regretted not taking of some women snapping beans poolside, under an umbrella.
8. Speaking of beans, I just picked the mother load of them and find myself asking to bean or not bean, to can or can not? Last year’s “Bean There Done That” HERE.
9. “It’s not about as many people as possible having the Floydfest experience – although it was like that for a couple of years because we wanted to share it with as many people as we could – it’s about people having the best possible Floydfest experience.” – Read about the latest changes for Floydfest (starting today!) from a story I wrote for the paper HERE.
10. Ever since I saw THESE fascinating pictures of the excavated bodies of the Easter Island Heads, I’ve been wondering what else exists just below the surface.
11. In my world a BF is a Butterfly.
12. Yes, I’m that person whose car is pulled off to the side of the road for wildflowers but who doesn’t need assistance. Thanks for asking. – More HERE.
13. THIS is how nanas do dramatic play.
“You’re not old enough to be in that poem”
I told my poet friend Ron
who wrote the self-appraised line
“52 year-old meat, hairy, leaning on my last leg”
Then I remembered the Turnpike Cars
under the Roller Coaster at Paragon Park
“You’re not big enough to go on that ride”
I was told the first time I saw them
But I wanted the freedom
of a blue finned sports car
riding with the top down
in a grown-up’s town
I spent my bus fare on a slice of pizza
walked home in pink flip flops that were broken
By the time I was tall enough to ride the Turnpike Cars
(renamed the Indy 500) I thought it was a baby ride
I moved on to the gravity-defying Rotor
being pinned to the wall and turning upside down
or riding with friends in the Kooky Castle
with threats of kissing in the dark
At first I used the height chart as an excuse
for not riding Paragon’s Roller Coaster
the Godzilla giant structure that defined our town
and had horror movie screams coming from it
Later, I was brave enough to tell the truth
I didn’t have the courage to ride it
By the time it was moved to Six Flags
and renamed The Wild One
I considered it a fool’s ride
But they’re really wild tiger lilies.
They’re the exotic-looking native species that Peter Pan’s Neverland princess was named after, a bloom that rarely, but occasionally, shows up in my yard like an alien, a trillium or a lady slipper.
These past couple of weeks, I’ve been following flowers like a groupie follows a rock star.
Like a busy bee, I’m interested in both the roadside attractions and the beautiful blooms in my own gardens.
My eye is trained to see flowers. These caught my eye at the Great Oaks pool yesterday.
And these were taken at the library.
Yes, I’m that person whose car is pulled off to the side of the road but who doesn’t need assistance. Thanks for asking.
The bee balm in my yard that I replanted from my friend Jayn’s garden many years ago has really taken off since we took down a couple of tulip poplars to bring more sun in the yard. I call this shot “Let it Bee Balm.”
Butterflies are like flowers in motion and are always included in my Louis and Clark botany expeditions. These Great Spangled Fritillaries are the same color as the tops of purple coneflowers.
At home, zinnias are the fireworks of my garden.
This is a lily of a more tamed variety.
This one’s from a series called “The Garden Croc Walk.”
And this one is called “The Balancing Act.”
-The following first appeared in The Floyd Press on July 16, 2015
Every Saturday night through the months of April and May regional bands competed at the Phoenix, a new music venue in Roanoke owned by Floydfest founders Kris Hodges and Erika Johnson. The fan-voted Battle of the Bands was designed to foster the regional music scene and to build momentum for this year’s 14th Floydfest, Fire on the Mountain. Bands competed for the chance to open for festival headliner Emmylou Harris at Floydfest, scheduled for July 22 to 26.
Following April’s band competitions, promoted as Fan the Fire, Johnson posted on Facebook and the Floydfest webpage, “It was an honor and a privilege to have been able to flush out FloydFest’s much-anticipated On the Rise (OTR) roster through the live audition process.” She was referring to Floydfest’s longstanding band competition that also produces an audience-voted winner who receives a package of prizes, including main stage performance time. This year, Floyd’s Deer Run Drifters is one of the OTR competing bands.
May’s roster of bands battling it out at the Phoenix was billed as Band on Fire and featured local bands from Roanoke and one from Floyd, BigMama Joy. Morgan Wade, a Floyd native currently living in Roanoke, competed against Welcome to Hoonah. The lively band performances cumulated with an inaugural Showdown Throwdown that took place on the festival site (Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 170.5) on Summer Solstice, June 20th. Floyd’s Bigmama Joy was among the four performing acts that went on to compete. Also competing were Sharayah Spears, Relacksachian and Welcome to Hoonah.
Afternoon showers periodically threatened the Showdown, but the show went on with Bigmama Joy taking second place and Welcome to Hoonah winning first place. Presented by Floydfest, Across-The-Way Productions and the Roanoke Community Garden Association, The Showdown – set to be a regular part of the festival lead-up – included onsite camping, children’s activities, food trucks and regional brews, a Disc Golf Tournament and a Mountain Cross Bike Race.
Hodges introduced the bands, playing on the Streamline Hill Holler Stage, while Johnson cheered on the bicyclists coming in the from the three mile mountain course. She explained that her family recently moved from Floyd County to Roanoke (where Hodges grew up) because their two children go to North Cross School in Roanoke.
Johnson, who writes most of the content for Floydfest’s webpage and marketing, is studying for a Master’s Degree in Arts and Liberal Studies at Hollins University and has taken creative writing classes there. She described the Phoenix (located on 5th Street and closed until September) as a speakeasy and part of a neighborhood revitalization. The Showdown event was a grassroots effort and, in part, a fundraiser for one of the Phoenix’s neighbors, The Roanoke Community Garden Association, who Johnson said is “doing great things” in Roanoke.
Excited about the 14th annual Floydfest, Johnson spoke about some of the planned changes, which are a continuation of 2014’s renewed focus on logistics and honing of the festival’s limited occupancy, boutique style. “It’s not about as many people as possible having the Floydfest experience – although it was like that for a couple of years because we wanted to share it with as many people as we could – it’s about people having the best possible Floydfest experience,” she said.
Responding to patron feedback, Johnson and Hodges have done some redesigning to make more room for onsite parking, adding a HOV (high occupancy vehicle) EZ pass package, in which 4 adult tickets, 2 kid tickets, 2 tent tags and 1 onsite parking pass can be purchased in a savings package for vehicles with a minimum of four people in them. “We realized that one of the
things people wanted at Floydfest was the ability to park onsite. As we grew that was one of the things that was lost to make room for more people. We wanted to work out something that would also fit with our core values of greening, community and families,” Johnson said.
Changes in the Global Village have been made with onsite camping and patron comfort in mind. “We heard loud and clear that our campers don’t want to listen to a drum circle all night,” said Johnson, explaining that the drum circle has been relocated to the main field. The redesigned Global
Village will feature theater, puppetry, campfire s’mores, stargazing, storytelling and acoustic music. Three “glamcamping” providers, who provide or set up campsites, will be based in the Global Village, as well as the Teen Scene Lounge and a Village Café run by the Red Rooster Coffee Roaster crew.
Billed as “Old Skool,” and based on patron feedback, this year’s music line-up has a Bluegrass leaning and is heavy on songwriting, strings and stomp. Americana and Rock and Roll are also well represented. Some returning favorites include Grace Potter, Brandie Caryl, Drive by Truckers, The Sam Bush Band and Peter Rowan. New to Floydfest are Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, The Chris Robinson (formerly of the Black Crowes) Brotherhood playing psychedelic rock, and many more. With eight stages to perform on, the best OTR local/regional bands, many of which performed at the Phoenix’s Battle of the Bands, will also be featured.Festival Healing Arts, fire and circus performances, the Children’s Universe, Outdoor Adventure, spectacular views, eco-workshops, gourmet regional food and more than 100 unique artisans and craft vending booths continue to be some of Floydfest’s signature offerings.
In recent years, off-site parking and shuttles have been miles from the festival site. Johnson was happy to report another new development for 2015: the original Alpha shuttle parking lot at Chateau Morrisette Winery (practically next door to the festival) has been re-secured. “It’s a throwback year!” she said. – Colleen Redman
Photos: 1. Floydfest co-founder Erika Johnson (right) with her mother (left), Sharon Morley of Blue Ridge Yurts, her daughter Chole (in blue) and Chole’s friend. 2. Sharayah Spears of Roanoke was the first of four competing acts. 3. Dancer grooving to Welcome to Hoonah, the band that took first place. 4. Enjoying the show.
5. Bigmama Joy, who took second place in the Showdown finale competition, was accompanied by Tree Gigante, Emily Williamson and FM Turner. Her set also included some solo songs and song with guitarist John Wilson. 6. A line of Floyd Countians showed their support for Bigmama Joy. 7. An afternoon scene of the Showdown viewed from the crest of the main field. 8. Floyd Countian Kim O’Donnell (in pink shirt) strikes a pose with family members who were visiting from California. 9. Cheering on the mountain bike racers. 10. This is the start of something,” said Paul Sullivan of Floyd Outdoors, an upcoming “hike, bike and run” retailer. Sullivan heads up the Moonstomper bike club that sponsored the Showdown Throwdown’s mountain cross bike race. Twenty bikers had one hour to do as many as laps on the 3-mile course as they could, with some making it around three times. Winners took home valuable prizes that included Floydfest tickets, an Eno hammock and an Osprey backpack. Plus, a couple more scenes from the day.