Organizers behind “Hillfest” have designed a veritable buffet of different music, foods and artisans on a basic tenet, so chances are there is something different, something you haven’t tried before that you’ll be glad you discovered. Organizers Brian and Laura Beth Parnell stressed it is intended to complement the annual VFW Post 1115 Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show.
The two, who in addition to being active members of The Friends of Hillsville, had a unique perspective of the area and owning Parnell’s Driving Range of Hillsville and Parnell Productions. Laura Beth credits Brian with seeing the opportunity as he witnessed Gun Show participants looking for something else after the vendors closed for the evening.
She stressed their planning includes a roster of young, local talent to appeal to residents as well as the “fleas” flocking to the area for the market. Indeed, the unspoken call of Hillfest is to “shake off the fleas, come and dance the night away.” Laura Beth said with this in mind, ninety percent of the artisans involved are from Virginia.
“We live in Hillsville and love it. I feel there is a lack of festivals in general in Carroll County,” said Laura Beth Parnell.
Of course, the “gorilla on the bandstand” so to speak is the infamous “Stompin’ 76” and its aftermath, which has fueled extensive planning for Hillfest. Indeed, some of the musicians to perform had parents who attended Stompin’ 76.
“We are not trying to copy or repeat it (Stompin 76), ” said Laura Beth Parnell. “Brian came up with the idea and a lot of what followed is my idea. I’m a planner and I love to plan events. I can’t say enough about the support. More than 50 have stepped forward as volunteers. This town has been super supportive.” The two also praised help received from the Virginia Department of Tourism.
The couple said the variety of music offered on multiple stages includes blues, bluegrass, rock, Americana, funk, and country. Hillfest is scheduled for September 2 through September 4 from noon until midnight. Headliners include The Church Sisters, Will Jones, the Hackensaw Boys, Fake Flowers Real Dirt and Annabelle’s Curse. (Band member Zack Edwards is from Carroll County.) Other bands from the Carroll County area include Stagecoach, Changing Lanes, Robby Danison, The Loose Strings Band, Mickey Galyean & Cullen’s Bridge, The Mastertones, Brad Hiatt & The Atomic Roots.
Information and schedules on the artisans, activities and musicians and ticket information can be obtained at www.hillfestva.com, facebook.com/hillfestva and facebook.com/parnellsdrivingrange.
Artisans demonstrating their skills from the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts will also be on hand to bring the Chestnut Creek Arts Village to the festival. A hot air balloon will be on hand to offer tethered rides and lighted balloon rides later in the evening, weather permitting.
Six members of the United States Army Special Operations group “The Black Daggers” are also slated to (weather permitting) jump into Hillfest (which will be located at Parnell[’s Driving Range). Food vendors featured include Creole That, Taco Trolley, Big Whiskey BBQ Company; with fare ranging from Italian shaved ice, specialty coffees, deep fried Oreos, crepes, doughnuts, kettle corn and funnel cakes. Creek Bottom Brewing will also have its mobile unit at Hillfest, which will feature a food and libation area.
“We care a lot about our town. We grew up here and we’re passionate about it,” said Brian Parnell. “We like to see people having fun and having a great time. We love music and festivals and Hillsville is on The Crooked Road.”
The Parnell’s appear to be making a good run at Hillsville earning a star on that musical avenue.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.