The Infamous Stringdusters, a 2011 Grammy-nominated progressive bluegrass band, will headline the third-annual Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival on Memorial Day weekend near Martinsville, Va.
A six-piece outfit from Nashville, Tenn., the Stringdusters received a Grammy nomination in the Best Country Instrumental Performance category for their song, “Magic #9.” The band will perform at Rooster Walk 3 on Saturday, May 28 at Blue Mountain Festival Grounds.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have the Infamous Stringdusters at Rooster Walk this year,” said festival co-founder Johnny Buck. “This is a band that sells out shows across the country and tours abroad. They’ve won some of the biggest awards in the bluegrass world, but they’re also hugely popular on the jamband and ‘newgrass’ music scenes. We can’t thank them enough for coming on board. They are the perfect fit for the atmosphere and vibe we’re trying to cultivate at Rooster Walk.”
The Stringdusters achieved almost instant stardom. In 2007, while touring in promotion of their debut album, “Fork in the Road,” they won three awards at the prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association awards ceremony: Emerging Artist of the Year; Album of the Year; and Song of the Year.
The band’s live performances have been described as “anti-formulaic, groove friendly, and mind‐expanding – not your granddaddy’s bluegrass, unless your granddaddy was Jerry Garcia.”
“We are really intently focused on creating music in the moment,” said Travis Book, vocalist and upright bass player, when asked to describe the band’s style. “That means there’s some improvising and some jamming going on. People are playing different solos every night, and it seems to me to be a more dynamic experience than your typical bluegrass or string-band show. … It’s definitely a good time. That much I know.”
The ‘Dusters just finished a two-day performance at Merlefest over the weekend, where they were once again main-stage performers. Other notable events on their summer tour schedule will include sets at DelFest in Cumberland, Md., the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colo., the legendary Red Rocks venue in Morrison, Colo., and the band’s own event, The Festy Experience near Charlottesville, Va.
Despite nearly unlimited options, Book said playing at Rooster Walk made sense on a number of levels.
“It sounds like a good time, and that’s largely one of the guiding principals of what we do these days: What sounds like the most fun, for us and for people who want to come be a part of it?” said Book. “And Rooster Walk fits the bill. It’s gonna be a really great time, and that’s one of the most important things to us. Since we’re all just spinning around on this planet, why not try to enjoy it as much as possible?”
RW3 will feature 19 primary bands. The current lineup offers rock, jam, bluegrass, blues, soul, folk, funk, jazz, country and reggae. Rooster Walk will also feature arts, crafts and food vendors from the area, children’s programming, a new workshop stage and on-site camping.
Bristol-based roots rockers Folk Soul Revival (FSR), this year’s festival hosts, are the only band scheduled to play both nights of the festival.
Other bands performing will include: The Mantras, the Jesse Chong Band, Sanctum Sully, Rob Cheatham & GUNCHUX!, the Lizzy Ross Band, the Kings of Belmont, the Big Fat Gap All-Stars, Jamal Millner & Comrades, Poverty Level with special guest Sammy Shelor, Relacksachian, Travis Elliott, Mariana Bell, the Martinsville Community Jazz Ensemble, Levi’s Gene Pool, Riggs Roberston and the Boys and Girls Club Steel Drum Band.
Rooster Walk honors the memory of two young Martinsville natives who passed away in the last four years: Edwin G. Penn IV and Walker E. Shank. Both were graduating members of Martinsville High School’s class of 2000. Proceeds from the volunteer-led festival go to the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship Fund at Martinsville High School.
In two years, organizers have donated $10,000 to the scholarship fund. Sara Kasey, a current freshman at Randolph College, was the inaugural recipient in 2010. The announcement of the second annual winner is expected in May.
General admission tickets for RW3 are currently $40 for a weekend pass and $90 for a VIP weekend pass. Those prices will increase to $50 and $125, respectively, on festival weekend. Tickets are available online or locally at the Southern Virginia Artisan Center in uptown, Binding Time Cafe and Woodall’s Music.
For more information, including details on tickets and band biographies, visit www.roosterwalk.com.