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FloydFest 21 Outdoor Music Festival Scheduled for July 21-25; Covid Safety Plan in Place

Across-the-Way Productions, Inc. invites patrons to embark on an ‘Odyssey’ to celebrate FloydFest 21, the latest annual offering of the Southeast’s premier summer outdoor music festival, taking place Wednesday to Sunday, July 21 to 25, 2021, at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Va. 

Topping today’s announcement, Across-the-Way Productions released its Covid Safety Plan, which can be viewed by clicking to FloydFest.com/Covid. A portion of the plan includes a decision by Across-the-Way Productions to voluntarily reduce the amount of tickets sold to FloydFest 21~Odyssey, as a proactive measure to ensure that the festival is safe for all attendees. The plan also features a detailed list of vetted Covid protocols and precautions, the intention to hire a ‘Covid Czar’ to serve as point-person for the protocols and precautions and the unveiling of the FloydFest.com webpage dedicated to disseminating crucial, need-to-know information.

Representing an announcement that is eagerly anticipated annually by patrons, Across-the-Way Productions also released its ‘fab-5’ of official craft libation partners — Deschutes Brewery (sponsor of FloydFest’s Libations Tent), Devils Backbone Brewing Company (sponsor of FloydFest’s Throwdown Tent), Oskar Blues Brewery (debuting on the mountain for FloydFest 21~Odyssey), Three Notch’d Brewing Company (sponsor of FloydFest’s Hill Holler Viewing Deck) and White Claw Hard Seltzer (the most-requested addition by patrons). 

But perhaps the highest level of excitement in today’s announcement came with the surprise addition of this year’s GRAMMY winner for ‘Best Bluegrass Album,’ Billy Strings. Receiving the GRAMMY grand-prize following a 2020 where he topped Billboard’s rankings in both bluegrass categories (Top Bluegrass Artist, Top Bluegrass Album), Billy Strings is announcing his first trip ever to the mountain for FloydFest 21~Odyssey, having been named “a bona fide phenom” by World Café and “the premier flatpicker of this era” by The Wall Street Journal, among many other accolades. 

In addition to Billy Strings, Across-the-Way Productions also announced seven new bands for the July bill — NYC’s ‘pop-jazz espresso’ funky jammers Melt; Kentucky’s rag-tag, rock-and-roll-drenched country hoodlums The Josephines; folk, blues and rock-and-rollers Goodnight, Texas; current No. 1-ranked pickers on Bluegrass Today’s Grassicana Chart GoodFellers; South Hill Banks’ front-man Lance Thomas, who will be an Artist at Large; and two new additions to FloydFest’s ‘Local Love’ lineup, James Laqueux Band and Mike Mitchell Band. 

Earlier this year, Grammy-nominated, N.C. Music Hall of Fame-inducted folk-rock group The Avett Brothers were announced for the five-day, nine-stage, 100-act, award-winning festival; as well as two-time Grammy-winners and Grand Ole Opry-members Old Crow Medicine Show. Also on the bill are Brooklyn’s funk-outfit Turkuaz, who are teaming up with Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads and Adrian Belew of King Crimson, to honor one of rock’s most-iconic albums, Talking Heads’ Remain In Light; East Texas’ alt-country renegades Whiskey Myers; Connecticut’s indie-groove all-stars Goose; ‘polyethnic Cajun slamgrass’ masters Leftover Salmon; high-energy jazz-funk-reggae-electronica-grass wizard Keller Williams; and award-winning guitarist Molly Tuttle. Austin, Texas’ Americana, award-winning quintet The Band of Heathens are set to perform, along with psychedelic-soul rocker Nicole Atkins; who all share the bill with Grammy-nominated soul man Devon Gilfillian; Grammy-nominated outlaw-country-funk singer-songwriter Brent Cobb; Appalachian-psychedelic-bluegrass power trio Keller & The Keels; rock-and-roll rule-breakers Andy Frasco & The U.N.; NPR’s 2019 Slingshot Artist Katie Pruitt; new-grass roots rockers Acoustic Syndicate; old-time groove powerhouse Hogslop String Band; sci-fi fusion trio Consider the Source; fan-favorite rootsy rockers L.A. Edwards; psychedelic-soul rockers The Broadcast; 2018 FloydFest On-the-Rise runner-up Travers Brothership; 2016 FloydFest On-the-Rise winner Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey; Canada’s high-energy funky four-piece Stephen Lewis & The Big Band of Fun; bluegrass-, folk- and Americana-influenced Mama Said String Band; 2010 FloydFest On-the-Rise winner Big Daddy Love; 2011 FloydFest On-the-Rise winner L Shape Lot; finger-picking, inventive, up-and-coming songwriter Tara Dente; FloydFest 19~Voyage Home’s On-the-Rise Winner Abby Bryant & The Echoes (formerly DownTown Abby & The Echoes); and FloydFest 19~Voyage Home’s On-the-Rise Runner-Up Hot Trail Mix (formerly ‘Mason Via & Hot Trail Mix’). 

Sponsored by Peluso Microphone Lab, Ferrum College and Press Press Merch, FloydFest 21~Odyssey’s On-the-Rise Competition Class of 2021 has also been announced: 49 Winchester, Ashley Heath and Her Heathens, Bailey Bigger, Bandits on the Run, Big Atomic, Casey Noel, Chance McCoy, Christian Lopez, darzo, Dr. Bacon, Free Union, Grizzly Goat, Into the Fog, Music Road Co, Nicholas Jamerson & The Morning Jays, Pressing Strings, Restless Leg String Band, Sexbruise?, Short & Company, Taylor Scott Band, Thunder and Rain and Unaka Prong. 

Showcasing love and admiration for the brilliant local music scene, FloydFest 21~Odyssey is also welcoming the following ‘Local Love’ artists to the mountain: The Ambassador, APEX, Blue Mule, Chupacabras, The Dead Reckoning, Dharma Bombs, Empty Bottles, Exit 109 Bluegrass, The Floorboards, GOTE, Isaac Hadden Project, The Jam, John McBroom, Jordan Harman, Lazy Man Dub Band, My Radio and Orange Culture. 

Patrons will also get to experience a special panel discussion during FloydFest 21~Odyssey, where Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, Adrian Belew of King Crimson and Dave Brandwein of Turkuaz will sit down with Rolling Stone contributing-writer Garret K. Woodward for a unique conversation about Remain In Light and the culture of rock music. 

Sturgill Simpson is no longer able to perform at FloydFest 21~Odyssey. A statement provided to AtWP: “Unfortunately we are no longer going to be able to perform this year at FloydFest due to unexpected and unforeseen circumstances. FloydFest is a great independent festival and we highly encourage everyone to attend even though we cannot be there with you. See you on and down the road very soon.”

Across-the-Way Productions recently unveiled the initial By-Day Schedule for FloydFest 21~Odyssey, which can be viewed and downloaded on its website: https://floydfest.com/lineup/schedule-by-day/. According to organizers, even more announcements are coming soon, as well as a full, final schedule for all five days of the festival. The next official announcement is set for April, which will include a detailing of a unique new initiative, “Wellness for Artists.” 

Tickets for FloydFest 21~Odyssey are on sale now via www.floydfest.com. Click to https://floydfest2021.eventbrite.com for a direct link to tickets. Ticket prices increase on April 1, again on July 1 and for the final time when gates open for the festival on July 21, if tickets remain. In addition to a host of ticket types now sold out, many other ticket types are in very short supply. 

FloydFest merchandise is available on the online merchandise store, including new designs for FloydFest 21’s ‘Odyssey’ theme: https://floydfest.presspressmerch.com/. 

As announced in May 2020, each patron who chose to rollover their tickets from FloydFest 2020~Vision Quest to FloydFest 21~Odyssey is automatically entered to win a free upgrade, and Across-the-Way Productions has awarded ten upgrades thus far, with plans to continue rewarding rollover patrons once a month through July 2021. 

As always, FloydFest will also include vibrant and varied vendors, quality craft brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, camping and children’s activities, outdoor adventure, onsite art installations and a final lineup featuring 100 artists performing on nine stages over five days. 

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Va. Find detailed directions on www.floydfest.com. 

Tickets for FloydFest 21~Odyssey are available by clicking to www.floydfest.com or https://floydfest2021.eventbrite.com. For more information, call (888) VA-FESTS or email info@floydfest.com. Stay informed via FloydFest’s newsletter at http://floydfest.com/newsletter/, and find FloydFest on Twitter (twitter.com/floydfest), Instagram (instagram.com/floydfestva) and Facebook (facebook.com/FloydFestVa). Patrons can also opt-in for the FloydFest Text Club by texting “FloydFest” to 540-215-2002 on their mobile device. 

Across-the-Way Productions’ 2021 Covid Safety Plan

“4-Cs for FloydFest 21~Odyssey”

*These protocols, precautions and new systems, which make up our Covid Safety Plan, will continually evolve and be updated over the next few months. The safety, health and wellbeing of our patrons, artists, staff, volunteers, vendors, and partners have always been a cornerstone of our brand, so we are taking this very seriously.

1. Capacity Reduction for FloydFest 21~Odyssey (July 21-25, 2021)
Although great strides have been made in the fight against Covid-19 — and government restrictions are

beginning to be lifted — we have chosen to be proactive to ensure FloydFest is a sanctuary of safety, health and wellbeing for our patrons, artists, staff, volunteers, vendors, and partners, by voluntarily reducing the amount of tickets sold for FloydFest 21~Odyssey. This reduction in capacity has already taken place, and it was applied across the board to each of our ticket types, as to ensure the event is safer for all, no matter what day, or day(s), they plan to attend.

2. Covid Protocols & Precautions for FloydFest 21~Odyssey (July 21-25, 2021)
• Temperature checks, infrared scanning, backpack-sprayer sanitization …
PREVENT, AtWP’s new partner, will be handling infrared scanning and temperature checks at our three main box offices, both onsite and offsite. What’s more, PREVENT’s backpack sprayers will be utilized to sanitize all necessary surfaces onsite, from porto-johns to tables to chairs — all surfaces that patrons will touch. Volunteer positions are being added to handle these new onsite systems.

• Rethinking reusable pints for beverages …

We have spent more than a decade teaching our patrons to use reusable stainless-steel pints for all beverage/libations onsite. Due to Covid, we are analyzing reverting back to also using single-use recyclable cups to serve beverages, as well as relying more on single-use cans. This represents a partial, if not complete, rework of our onsite pouring systems.

• Clear, concise, visible information dissemination onsite …

Via a new partnership with Virginia811, we will have a large LED display truck parked at our front entrance gate, which will detail Covid protocols and precautions, social-distancing guidelines, mask protocol, and other important information for patrons, artists, staff, volunteers, vendors, and partners. • Masks & social distancing …

Masks are encouraged — if not mandated by the state — as well as social distancing, and we will strictly adhere to pertinent government mandates. Informational signage will be placed across site.
• Capacity limits for vendor tents …
For vendor tents, we are implementing signage that limits the amount of people that can be inside the tent at one time, as well as signage that denotes safe, socially-distant practices when waiting in lines.

• Rethinking free water stations …

For water stations, we are staffing volunteers to sanitize personal vessels before acquiring water, and then also implementing regular sanitization of said stations.
• Continuing education, communication, collaboration …

We are regularly seeking advice from and collaborating with local authorities and public health officials to implement current Covid restrictions and recommendations, and we are cataloging these changes on a new Covid webpage on FloydFest.com: FloydFest.com/Covid
• Guidance from the World Health Organization …

We are providing resources that detail the signs and symptoms of Covid to help educate patrons and staff on whether they should attend or stay home.
We are also requiring staff and patrons to stay home if they have any Covid symptoms, including fever, cough or gastro-intestinal issues. Additionally, we are requiring attendees to not attend the event if they have been diagnosed with Covid, or had direct contact with an individual diagnosed with or suspected to have Covid in the past 14 days.

• Ample hand-washing stations …

We are providing access to ample hand-washing stations with soap and water or hand sanitizer, and we are providing instructions on proper handwashing at hand-washing stations.
• Medical response plan …
We have a medical response plan, designating responsible persons, nearby emergency services, and determining how to isolate and transport staff or patrons experiencing a medical emergency.

• Enforcement of social distancing and face coverings …

We are designating multiple volunteers and staff members to enforce suggestions from public health officials on physical-distancing and face-covering requirements throughout the event.
• Alcohol sales …
We are adhering to Virginia ABC mandates for when alcohol can and cannot be served.

• Changes to VIP and Staff catering services …

We are implementing changes to VIP and Staff Catering services, to mitigate chances of cross- contamination via users.
• Social distancing for artists …
Per current government mandates, musicians will be separated from patrons by 10 feet or more while performing.

… with more to come. Once again, this is a living document, which will change and evolve over the next few months.

3. Covid Czar for FloydFest 21~Odyssey (July 21-25, 2021)
Across-the-Way Productions has devised a new staff position for before and during FloydFest 21~Odyssey. This “FloydFest Covid Czar” will serve as point person for all of the Covid protocols and precautions listed above, as well as any additional protocols and precautions that could be added and implemented as the situation evolves. Not only will this new hire/staff-person work to organize and implement evolving Covid protocols and precautions pre-festival, but they will also be on the ground organizing and overseeing the processes, staff and volunteers required to accomplish these new conventions during the festival.

4. Covid Webpage on FloydFest.com
Detailed communication about FloydFest’s Covid protocols and precautions are now featured on a new webpage, so patrons, artists, staff, volunteers, partners, vendors, and the public can quickly and effectively access this crucial need-to-know information with one click: FloydFest.com/Covid. This webpage will be continually updated as the situation evolves.