Appaloosa Music Festival 2016

Over Labor Day 2016 on September 3rd and 4th I went to the Appaloosa Festival at the Skyline Ranch in the Shenandoah Valley a few miles from Front Royal, Virginia.
It's a unique event. For one, the festival kicked off with Sunday Mass (see photos below). Pretty unique. Here is a little background.
They donate 10% of the profits go to the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Appaloosa Blue Ride Acts Foundation. As described in the Festival Program: Giving Back...
"We believe strongly that every good gift comes from love. We've all been given love first, so Appaloosa would like to give back. Appaloosa is giving 10% of festival profits to charity:
  • Little Sisters of the Poor. Once upon a time, we got to volunteer with these sisters and  learned that their life mission is to make sure the elderly receive a beautiful living space, and loving care right to their very last breath. We couldn't think of a more worthy beneficiary.
  • Appaloosa Blue Ridge Arts Foundation. This year, we have founded a non-profit to expose children to roots music through a series of workshops. There is a rich musical tradition in the Shenandoah Valley and it is our goal to work towards establishing a permanent folk music school in Front Royal to share with the next generation.
The 40 musical acts are too many to list, so I'll list some of my favorites. 
  • Six-String Soldiers: Actual American soldiers who play folk, Americana, bluegrass and Irish Music.
  • Socks in the Frying Pan: From County Clare who specialize in 3-part harmonies.
  • Bud's Collective: West Virginia blue grass band.
  • Cake for Dinner: Scythian's music from Ireland to Gypsy to Ukraine for their 25 nephews and nieces.
  • The Fitzgerald's: Tom, Kerry and Julie Fitzgerald who play Celtic, jaz, bluegrass, and French Canadian music while breaking into remarkable tap dance numbers.
  • Gothard Sisters: Three talented violinists who are also sisters.
  • Hillbilly Thomists: Actual Dominican bluegrass musicians.
My absolute favorite was the song Broken Shore by Cruz Contreras and the Black Lillies. Cruz wrote the song as a tribute to his grandfather's experience invading Iowo Jima. It portrays the twilight time between life and death American combat soldiers experienced in the full fury of invading a beach held by the fanatical Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. 

What was also unique about this festival was the number of young parents with small children enjoying themselves. Easily, one of four of those attending was under 12. Children were everywhere running around, laughing, and moving around spontaneously to all the music coming from the multiple stages. Who knows what future musician was first exposed to that future while there.
Alexander Fedoryka and Daniel Fedoryka have always been the heart of Scythian. They have much to be very proud of, not least of which is this unique music festival they have created and the unique causes it supports. 
With so many negative, life destroying causes raising money out there, we found it wonderful to find a festival that supports positive, life giving causes.


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