Passion, Art, Music and Beer: The ‘Festy’ Experience Festival On The Concert Grounds At Devils Backbone

For those of us who aren’t necessarily “artists” of one kind or another, our enjoyment of others who are and the fruits of their labor often shows up in easy to understand but completely non verbal signs – most often, at least for me, in those unmistakable wide grins of sweet satisfaction that simply say “oh my – this is good”.    Long before I became interested in well crafted beer, a deeply gratifying love of good music, especially performed in live settings, had made its home in my soul, and continues to give me immense happiness (and wide grins) today.  From this love of good music I learned I have this innate joy that is sparked by so many things that, like good music, have been created out of one’s passion for their art.  Personally, when it comes down to it, I know music is still the one that gives me the greatest joy – very little compares to seeing a group of accomplished musicians create joy from music, right on stage in front of you.

But craft brewers are artists as well, and talented ones coax the most amazing flavors and tasting experiences out of the beers they create.  From natural ingredients come the most dizzying and complex interpretations of beer styles, and when one finds the right beer for them, you certainly hear it again – “oh my, this is good”, without anything being said – it’s written all over their face.

Lucky me then, and anyone else with a like mind and wide grin, that it seems that holding concerts and music festivals at craft breweries around the country is a growing trend.  This past weekend, I made it to the second annual “Festy”, a music festival held on the grounds right at Devils Backbone Brewing in Virginia’s Nelson County.  Technically, the Festy is a three day celebration of music, outdoor living, and environmental sustenance rolled into what goes by “The Festy Experience”, so to label it as only a music festival is a little misleading, but I was definitely there for the tunes. I readily admit to being a big fan of The Infamous Stringdusters, the band which started the festival last year and of course headlines it, and couldn’t wait for their own sets Saturday and Sunday night.  But I knew some of the other bands quite well, and of course, living less than two hours from the location, and having written about Devils Backbone before, knew I was in for some outstanding beer as well.

The beer was exceptional, of course, and my current favorite, a Scotch Ale called Ale of Fergus, made numerous appearances during my weekend. There was even a very good pale ale simply named Stringduster Ale, I assume named for the band and produced for the event.  As for the entire festival, it was, of course, a blast.  The combination of mild, early fall days that slid effortlessly into evenings with the right amount of crisp chill and the breathtaking mountains to every side whose peaks had just begun to lean towards autumn reds and yellows surrounded the concert grounds, the stage, the crowd, and the tremendous musicians who were there with calming and humbling natural beauty.  When I found myself in the crowd, as with any time I’m at such a show, I made sure I looked around occasionally, soaking all of it in (and yes, with mighty fine ale in hand).  I especially did so during the Stringdusters’ nightly shows.  As the band tore through its sets both nights, I glanced around at others near me from time to time.  Nothing needed to be said, the emotion was understood.  From the amazing sounds of the musicians to the natural artwork of the land around us, it was on every face, where nothing but looks of sweet satisfaction could be seen – punctuated by wide grins of joy that simply said “oh my – this, this is good”.

Below, more captured sights from my Festy Experience, 2011.

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~ by thebeerroad on October 11, 2011.

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