The Best Music in the Vineyard
Perhaps the most dramatic and innovative development in Virginia vineyards this Fall is the relocation of the itinerant Festy music festival to Chisholm Vineyards in Albemarle County. Chisholm, led by third-generation owner Andrea Matheson, is a popular vineyard just north of Charlottesville with delicious wine, an elegant venue and long record of hosting popular local musicians under its pavilion. The Festy is a critically-acclaimed and moveable music festival led by Charlottesville-based musical entrepreneur Michael Allenby. Beginning in late September, The Festy officially became headquartered at Chisholm in a field carefully potted and partitioned into virtual boxes that allow small groups of vino-music fans to enjoy themselves in the fullness of Virginia’s autumnal countryside.
The musical lineup, as in previous years, is loaded with regional talent from Waynesboro’s Keller WIlliams to Nashville’s Jerry Douglas. In a pandemic year when traditional performance venues have gone dark and many festivals are dormant, area musicians and their audience are fortunate to have a nimble Festy to enjoy.
What makes “Festy at Chisholm” at once both a classic Virginia outing and a leading-edge music experience? It begins by parking in a rolling with a sweeping view of the blue ridge painted by a setting sun. Then you’ll stroll along a long string of Christmas lights, past barbour jackets and volvos to the music venue, bordered by winery outbuildings replete with bathrooms and a vineyard above. A glowing performance tent throbs at the field’s western end, and before it lie dozens of virtual booths and numerous cocktail and picnic tables to frame an ambiance vaguely reminiscent of an outdoor night club, what promoter Allenby calls an “outdoor VIP experience.” Now you’ve arrived!
We recommend bringing folding chairs, blankets and warm clothes as chillier nighttimes arrive. Food and beverages can be ordered by an app on your smartphone, and waiters will deliver swiftly from a food truck nearby.
Shows are scheduled into mid-November. Attendance is pandemically limited to 200. Buy tickets, which start at $120 for two tickets in a 10×10 “box,” online. The hills are live with music and wine, and we highly recommend this experience.
For a complete list of area vineyards, click HERE.