Three days of incredible music, great weather and a very cool vibe in general were all hallmarks of the Inaugural Hillfest in Hillsville.
Billed as a way to “shake off the fleas,” Hillfest certainly provided either a great alternative to the annual Labor Day Gun Show and Flea Market OR the perfect complement, depending on your own personal point of view. Regardless, there was no doubt attendees were treated to a unique atmosphere and some incredible local and regional talent as nearly 30 bands performed in the three-day show from Friday to Sunday.
“I think the music spoke for itself – we had three days of incredible musicians,” said Laura Beth Parnell, who organized the event along with her husband Brian. “The weekend was definitely a success! Looking around and seeing people enjoying themselves and not worrying about anything else is the definition of success for me. Of course we wish that more people would have gotten to come, but we had a good crowd, particularly on Saturday night.”
Indeed, Hillfest drew a very good crowd Saturday night as festival goers were treated to blues, bluegrass, rock, Americana, funk, and country on four different stages. Aside from the music, there was also a great mixture of food vendors and other activities, such as hot air balloon rides and The Black Daggers – six members of a United States Army Special Operations group that parachuted into Hillfest on Saturday.
“Most importantly, I want to recognize the many wonderful people who gave their time volunteering at HillFest. They worked more than their shifts, went above and beyond their duties, made guests feel welcome, and made the whole thing run more smoothly than I ever could have imagined,” Laura Beth Parnell said. “Everywhere you looked, there was somebody in a HillFest shirt, smiling and working and helping people. Nobody complained, nobody asked to leave early – the only thing they asked was how else they could help. I can’t find words to describe how wonderful they all are and how thankful I am for all of them. The other heroes of the event were the sound guys and the lighting and stage people. It’s amazing how much work has to happen to get bands on and off stage, get mikes hooked up, get the sound right. Eddie Day and his family, Will Jones, Josh Pickett – we couldn’t have done it without them.”
While the crowds Friday and Sunday weren’t as big as the good showing Saturday night, Parnell said organizers will evaluate everything from the inaugural festival to make next year’s show even bigger and better.
“HillFest 2017 is already in the works. We’re taking time to evaluate everything, listen to feedback from those who attended, vendors, volunteers, musicians, and then we’ll get to work on making next year even better from all that we’ve learned,” she said.
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN