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Music fest back, but with changes

Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 8:38 am

By David Knox

The Lynchburg Music Fest returns Oct. 1-2, but expect changes from last year’s inaugural effort.

First of course, is the fall date, moved from August in hopes of cooler weather. Another possible change will be the venue. Rumors have floated for some time that the event will move from Wiseman Park to another location. Promoter Jonny Hill of Igniter Productions isn’t ready to announce whether that’s the case or not just yet. But expect it to be revealed by the end of February.

Cassady Pope performs at the Lynchburg Music Fest. Photo by Jeff Reed.

Also, Hill said, there won’t be as many artists as last year’s 50 or so.

“It was a headache to manage 50 or so acts,” he said. “But we’ll have a higher quality. Every name on the playbill will be a recognizable name. We’re expanding our genre from just country music to country, classic rock, Southern rock, Americana. The goal is to have an act for each member of the family. Something for everybody.”

There will be three stages and some 25 artists in 2020. But ticket prices are lower too. There is a VIP under-21 ticket this year and among the other big changes is a Songcrafters Tent for Select VIP ticket holders. There will be programming in that tent both days with the headliners making appearances in the intimate, acoustic setting.

“That’s one of our biggest aspects and focuses this year, singer-songwriters,” Hill said. “It gives us an identity apart from other festivals. We have six already committed and among them there are 111 No. 1 hits … these are monster songwriters. We’re trying to create a pilgrimage for songwriters with this.”

Craig and Wheeler was the first exclusive sponsor on board for Year 2. “We already have more confirmed sponsors at this point than we did at this stage last year. And we’re hundreds of tickets sold already, without one act being announced yet.”

Headliners will be announced soon, but Hill is already excited about one of them who he says is pulling “6,000 a show” with constant sellouts.

“I’m positive with the talent we have coming in the crowds will be exponentially bigger compared to last year,” he said.

Of course, Hill remains committed to giving up-and-coming singer-songwriters their shot on the main stage. The four winners from the Shine On Series at Lynchburg Winery will compete with the four winners from another showcase sponsored by Igniter at Nashville’s Exit/In at Lynchburg’s Frontier Days for the one main-stage spot. “We call it ‘The Road to Lynchburg,’” Hill said.

Also, on Oct.1 there will be an album release party for Igniter artists at the venue.

As far as local vendors go, Hill said that local businesses that are Chamber of Commerce members will get a free 10×10 spot inside the venue this year. Most information will be funneled through a bi-weekly newsletter sent out through the Chamber. The monthly informational meetings will not take place this year.

For more information or to purchase tickets, go to