9th annual Rooster Walk festival to bring crunchy jamz, bluegrass to South Central Virginia

Posted by: brad – Mar 20, 2017


The 9th annual Rooster Walk Festival returns to Martinsville, VA, again this year for Memorial weekend to satiate your needs for good music and the great outdoors. Located at what the founders call “Pop’s Farm”, acres of land in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this multi-day festival is known for their family-friendly vibe and beautiful landscape.

With a hefty line up released last week, you'll catch 40 well-known and local bands this year, offering mix of genres as well as fan favorites. Some of the headlining acts include the legendary and reunited reggae band The Wailers and Michigan-based bluegrass group Greensky Bluegrass.

The festival initially started by turning a tragic situation into a positive experience for hundreds of people. Rooster Walk was created in the memory of the founders’ closest childhood friends, Edwin “the Rooster” Penn and Walker Shank, who had passed away young. The festival is a tribute to them and the idea that everyone should live in the moment.

Since the conception of the festival, over $100,000 have been raised for a college scholarship fund at the founders’ high school, Martinsville High School, as well as for local and regional charities. The founders of the festival are proud to see that their contributions have helped the community prosper.

Also among the headliners is the Brooklyn-based funk band the Pimps of Joytime The group has a pretty significant following in VA, having not only played Rooster Walk but other local music festivals such as FloydFest. A crowd fave, PJT bring a groovy and diverse sound to Rooster Walk that’ll be sure to get you up and movin’.

On the more local end of things, the super dope and impressively young three piece folk and bluegrass group The Fernandez Sisters will be playing that weekend. The North Carolina-based group made up of three sisters, from ages 14 to 19, will be beautifully harmonizing and shredding on a mandolin to honor the traditional music of the Appalachians.

With 5-stages, this line-up is sure to give every festival-goer a taste their favorite sounds as well as something new to dig. Johnny Buck, co-founder of Rooster Walk, said it was a challenge to put together but ultimately was a success.

“We’re really proud of the way this one turned out. It’s a really fun combination of bands that features a good mix of genres, as well as a variety of first-time Rooster Walk performers and returning, ‘fan-favorites,” said Buck.

If the stacked line up and warm atmosphere wasn’t enough, Rooster Walk offers a variety of other activities, such as kids’ zones, food, craft beer, yoga, a 5K race and features on-site camping.

Rooster Walk 2017 will be happening over four days, from May 25th to May 28th in Southern VA. For more info and to buy tickets, visit their website.

Words by Kathy Mendes, top image via Roger Gupta Photography