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The RTE 23 Music Festival returns to the campus of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise on Saturday, August 27. The free festival brings a diverse mix of artists together for a full day of live music that’s off the beaten path.
The RTE 23 Music Festival has its origins back in February of 2009, when The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Concert Series at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise (UVa-Wise) in Wise, Virginia. UVa-Wise hosted its first show in the college’s student center. The goal then – and now – was simple: bring the best Americana bands possible to music lovers in Southwest Virginia.
Since the series began, there have been several venues in Wise that have hosted an array of outstanding musicians including St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Folk Soul Revival, The Black Lillies, Yarn, The Corduroy Road, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, The New Familiars, Dave Eggar, Amber Rubarth, and Last Train Home.
RTE 23 returns this year with another impressive line-up including The Comet Conductors, Annabelle’s Curse, Elliot Root, and Love Canon. The event will include family activities, events geared toward college students. The event will also feature local food and crafts as well as the Wolf Hills Brewing Company beer garden. Other vendors include Foodie Fiction, The Crepe Escape, Piggy Went Smoke-N-Pig Stillhouse, PureWood Firebrick Oven Pizza and Lincoln Road Cold Brew Coffee.
RTE 23 is made possible by a number of local businesses and individuals; their support is essential to keeping the event free for the community. Thank you to James Lawson, Cavalier Comics, Crutchfield, Jeremy O’Quinn Law Office, Cavalier Pharmacy, Dr. William C. Horne, DDS, Pro-Art, Pulitzer Orthodontics, UVa-Wise, Morgan McClure, Wise County Tourism, Daniels Heating & Plumbing, Charles Anderson, Bebo’s Music, and Wynn Canes for your generosity and support.
The music will begin at 4:15 p.m.
The Comet Conductors – 4:15 – 5:00
Drawing from the wellspring of Jimi Hendrix, Muddy Waters, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Comet Conductors – Jake Quillen, Magus Vaughn, Arthur Vaughn, and Mike Lubrano – have become one of East Tennessee’s best blues driven rock bands. Quillen’s scorching guitar solos reach stratospheric heights over the steady rhythms provide by Vaughn and Lubrano. Last fall, the band participated in the Piedmont Blues Band Challenge in Greensboro, North Carolina, and brought home a third place finish. The coming years are bound to see The Comet Conductors progress to bigger and brighter stages, and we are proud to have them open RTE 23 this year.
Annabelle’s Curse 5:30 – 6:30
Annabelle’s Curse have called Southwest Virginia home since the band’s inception and have a strong following throughout the region. As evidenced by Worn Out Skin, their 2015 release, this folk rock quintet remains committed to the rootsy songwriting that has been their strength since the band was founded in 2010, though they now show more willingness to indulge in effects-laden grooves that showcase the band’s instrumental chops and the vocal interplay between singer Tim Kilbourne and mandolinist Carly Booher. Annabelle’s Curse have appeared at FloydFest, Rooster Walk, and Knoxville’s Rhythm & Blooms Music Festival while becoming a featured and favorite performer at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
Elliot Root 7:00 – 8:00
Like Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, and Lynyrd Skynyrd before them, Elliot Root is a band, not a man. That deserves noting, as it is all of the members of Elliot Root – and no one individual – who deserve credit for creating some of the best alt-rock buzzing on the scene today. Based out of Nashville, the quintet’s sound bends and moves, at any given moment channeling rootsy songwriters like Amos Lee or Ray Lamontagne before returning the next with rock bombast more akin to Kings of Leon. Elliot Root has shared the stage with X Ambassadors and Zac Brown, among others, and this summer will appear at both Firefly Music Festival and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
Love Canon 8:30 – 10:00 (pictured above)
For many bluegrass bands, the musical canon that provides their inspiration includes Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and The Stanley Brothers. For Love Canon, you’d have to replace those names with Kenny Loggins, Tom Petty, Don Henley, a Mark Knopfler. Love Canon, from Charlottesville, Virginia, gives the bluegrass treatment to the biggest hits from the 1980s, but make no mistake; this is no mere tribute band. Each member of the band is a picker of the highest pedigree, and their spin on eighties music has put them in front of appreciative audiences across the country. Recently, the band appeared with Bruce Hornsby at the Warren Haynes Xmas Jam and opened for Huey Lewis & The News in Roanoke. This spring and summer, Love Canon’s festival schedule has them appearing at, among others, MerleFest, French Broad River Festival, Mountain Jam Festival, and FloydFest.