Let’s Go to LOCKN’! 2017 Festival Preview

Nestled just beyond the Eastern reach of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Central Virginia, Infinity Downs Farm will once again play host to one of the summer’s most anticipated jam-centric music festivals. LOCKN‘, in it’s fifth installment, will unite roughly 20,000 humans to revel in the spirit and evolution of jam music. Though pioneered by The Grateful Dead, this widely scoping genre has been continually re-engineered by the many other talents gracing the stage during the weekend of August 24-27.

As music constantly evolves, so can the environment in which it is absorbed. This year’s festival layout has been reworked to improve user experience, offering attendees swifter access between stages, campsites, and amenities. And as wood is the traditional gift given on a fifth anniversary, the natural wooded setting will be utilized more fully, offering festival goers more shade throughout the grounds.

The hardy lineup of jam all stars begins on Thursday at the Relix stage (formerly the Blue Ridge Bowl) with Virginia’s own Kendall Street Company, one of the local bands selected by fans during the Rockn’ to LOCKN’ contest to determine which local bands would be added to the bill. Layering the evening with alternating sets, The String Cheese Incident and Umphrey’s McGee will offer a strong opening night. The Disco Biscuits will bookend the first night at the Relix stage.

Gearing up for Friday at the Relix stage, three NY bands- Antibalas, Sinkane and TAUK, will share the stage with Marcus King Band and Rockn’ to LOCKN’ contender Sun-Dried Opossum. On the main stage, performances by The Dead’s own Phil Lesh and Bob Weir with The Terrapin Family Band (the official house band at Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads venue in California) along with rock siren Nicki Bluhm will ring in Friday night. Leading up to their collab, Gov’t Mule with Heart vocalist Ann Wilson, folk rock goddess Brandi Carlile, Jim James, and Blackberry Smoke will also share the main stage. NY’s JRAD will close out at the Relix stage.

Saturday will swing into action at the Relix stage with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Suffers, Hiss Golden Messenger, Los Colognes and Rockn’ to LOCKN’ finalist Mighty Joshua. The main stage will see performances by Widespread Panic, John Fogerty (leading man from Creedance Clearwater Revival), Australian heartthrobs John Butler Trio, Greensky Bluegrass and Keller Williams. JRAD will once again cap the night at the Relix stage.

Going out on a high note, Sunday will embark at the Relix stage with performances by Moonalice with Jorma Kaukonen, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, NY’s Eric Krasno Band, Rockn’ to LOCKN’ finalist Anthony Rosano & the Conqueroos, and Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel. At the main stage, attendees will bear witness to The Avett Brothers with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh and friends with NY’s moe., The Revivalists, Margo Price, JJ Grey & Mofro and The Record Company.

Even with improved shading, it’s gonna get hot out there dancing to all of these stellar sets. Luckily, WaterLOCKN’ offers guests thirsting to cool off an opportunity to swim in the nearby Tye River. While there is a $20 fee for transport and a one-hour swim limit, the proceeds are donated to honorable causes. Another way festival goers may keep cool is by catching a breeze during a bike trip through the meandering trails surrounding the grounds. If bringing a bike isn’t feasible, one can be borrowed from the Wheelhouse.

For festival attendees looking to limber up and prevent injury before whipping out all those dance moves no one knew they were capable of, daily morning yoga will be hosted by Opal Yoga, a studio based in Charlottesville. Many other local businesses offering food, drink and craft will also be highlighted throughout the festival. Starr Hill Brewery, stationed in Crozet, VA, just 45 minutes from the festival site, has partnered with LOCKN’ and offered fans the chance to name their signature golden ale for the festival. The winning name is Infinity & Beyond, inspired by the festival logo, which reflects the never-ending cycle of music attendees enjoy throughout the weekend.

An expanded Garcia’s Forest returns this year, including the Terrapin Station Porch, a life size replica of the structure featured on the cover of the Dead’s 1977 Terrapin Station album. This smaller stage will keep the venue lit with music, offering morning performances by Melvin Seals, Holly Bowling and Danny Louis, and evening performances by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Midnight North, and Nicole Atkins Band.

While some festival goers will utilize this music, allowing their minds to traverse other realms, others may wish to stay more clear headed for their festival experience. Sober LOCKN’ offers a strong support network of like-minded individuals, so everyone’s needs can be taken care of.

Speaking of needs, the festival is but a short week away, so you better 1) Buy your ticket if you haven’t already, 2) Start making a packing list so you know you’ll be set 3) Lookup some of the bands in the lineup if you’re unfamiliar, 4) Practice your best dance moves and 5) Get pumped for what is sure to be a groovetastic musical journey! See you there!