Rte 23 - Extra! Extra! Read all about it!If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d have access to a legit music festival within walking distance of my home in Wise I’d told you how crazy you are and laughed you right on down the street. Fast forward to 2017 and I sit here looking forward to attending the RTE23 festival for the fourth time. Amazing!
It’s really cool to see what can be put together by just a few people with a real passion for
something. This festival may be the best example of that I’ve ever seen in this area. One of the
best parts about it though is you don’t even have to share the same passion for music in order
to have a good time. There are lots of folks that come out just to socialize and catch up with
friends outside of work. What community can’t use more of that?
Personally, I love digging into the music and getting close to the stage for some bands. I often
catch myself mesmerized trying to follow what chords the guitarists are playing or wondering if I
can repeat the rhythm when I get home with my guitar. It's harder to get that close at larger
festivals and concerts. While I’m doing that there are others 200 feet away with hula-hoops or
yard games. Everybody experiences live music a bit differently. The first year we attended was highlighted by David Mayfield and by the end of the night he and his were in the grass with about 50 of us that were still there. He was jammin’ on his knees, on his back, and breaking guitar strings. The next year The London Souls brought a blues-rock vibe that was the most memorable for me. Last year one of our favorites was Elliott Root. My daughter fell head-over- heels in love with them and we've now seen them two more times since.
I've discovered a lot of new music that is now frequent listening for me. If our community embraces a festival like this one and helps it to grow then over time it could draw larger crowds and more well known bands. In turn more vendors for food and merchandise may join in. Sponsorship can grow and local businesses would gain more exposure. All good things. The guys and gals on the RTE23 committee have always done an amazing job of bringing in a mix of bands that can appeal to about any taste; I expect more of the same this year. Come on out and we'll see! In the meantime head over to the RTE23 Facebook page to see this year's lineup.
Oh wait, one more thing…this festival is FREE!!!
- Chris Mullins, Wise VA
Supporter and attendee of RTE23