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Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real perform at the Hocking Hills Music Festival on Saturday, October 9, 2021.

Hocking Hills Music Festival features Appalachian artists, small businesses

From Friday afternoon until Saturday at dusk, musicians and Appalachian artists entertained the audiences at the Hocking Hills Music Festival in Rockbridge.

Hosted by Stuart’s Opera House, Nelsonville Music Festival and Duck Creek Log Jam, the festival offered those attending entertainment the opportunity to camp and check out local vendors. 

One of the vendors at the event was Talcon Quinn, a craft-maker from The Plains who was selling her sustainably created merchandise. 

“I have a small studio that a friend of mine built as a tiny house years ago, and I use that as a studio, which runs on solar,” Quinn said. “A lot of my materials are sourced by working with a game processor in Gainesville.”

Quinn said she sells items on her website, but she tends to sell items for cheaper when running a vendor tent like at the music festival. Other vendors from the area were selling items like t-shirts, vinyls, CDs, ceramic art, art prints and more. 

On Friday, the lineup included performances from Dead Horses, Darrin Hacquard, Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle, Cedric Burnside, Yarn, Watchhouse and Del McCoury Band. The night closed out with the Hocking River String Band. 

“Yesterday, I feel like was a little more chaotic just because it was like the first day of the festival and the first time that we’ve been working together and the first time at the site,” Dylan Telerski, marketing and public relations director of Stuart’s Opera House, said Saturday about the festival. “There were just a lot of things to work out, but today has been so smooth and wonderful.”

On Saturday, the lineup featured the Rattletrap Stringband, Parker Louis, Jesse Milnes & Emily Miller, Dori Freeman, Dawna, Sunny War, The Wonderfool, The Brothers Comatose, Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Rebirth Brass Band. Some of the performing artists, including Parker Louis, commented on how elated they were to be able to perform live and outdoors. 

“I’m really grateful to be here back out playing for people outside,” Louis said. “I love playing outside, man. It’s different. Ask any musicians playing this weekend; it’s just a different vibe.”

Another artist who included anecdotes in their set Saturday was Dori Freeman, a singer-songwriter from Virginia. Freeman talked about the origin of her song “Like I Do.” 

“(I) got a song I wrote for my daughter. She’s 8 now,” Freeman said. “I think she would be a lot nicer about her response now, but when I wrote the song, she was about 4. She was just like, ‘Yeah, I don't like it.’ Just not impressed at all. So, naturally, I recorded it. Maybe when she's older, she'll be into it.”

The artists had the chance to be more intimate with the festival-goers since the event size was supposed to be limited to 1500 attendees. 

“It’s been great,” Misti Crane, a resident of Columbus and an attendee of the festival, said Saturday about the festival. “We’re long-time Nelsonville people, so we are very excited to be here. It’s been really great. We like the size of this event.”

Crane also said she felt like it was finally going to be safe for her to again attend an event like this. 

“Especially due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, it was important to us that guests have the opportunity to have plenty of space to spread out, relax and enjoy returning to the live music experience,” Telerski said.


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