Blog post contributed by Matthew Wallace, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Marketing & Communications Intern from James Madison University. 

As a first-time ValleyFest attendee and volunteer, to say that I started my internship at a busy and exciting time is an understatement. My first day at the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce was May 15 and we were already immersed in event planning. After weeks of seeing weather forecasts calling for storms and planning for inclement weather, ValleyFest went off without a hitch and only two short rain showers

This year the festival had some key changes on the music front moving local favorite, Mike Davis, to the main stage and having The Prince Experience close the show. And while I’m sure many of us come for the great music; there is a certain appeal to sitting down on a grassy field while the sun shines on top of the Massanutten mountains. The combination of local breweries, wineries, and cideries combined with crafters and artisans from across Virginia makes the festival feel like home for locals and visitors. There are very few places where you can eat a delicious burger from Jack Browns and then shop for designer pet collars or hand made clothing without having to walk more then a block away

That’s ValleyFest. Or at least how I saw it as a first time attendee. What did everyone else think of the event and how it compared to past years?

In the words of Andy Vanhook from Appeal Productions and a regular attendee, sponsor and volunteer for ValleyFest, “2017 ValleyFest may have been the best one yet. The weather was perfect. The bands were energetic and had the crowd dancing throughout the day. You couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off summer.”

I think Andy summed this event up pretty well. Taking place on Memorial Day Weekend, ValleyFest is a great way to kick off the summer season. And he’s definitely right. Attendees were dancing into the evening hours and couldn’t wait to get their picture taken with “Prince” following the show.

Another regular ValleyFest attendee, Chris Cowen, has made the trip from Pennsylvania to be in attendance for the last decade

Chris shared, “I enjoy the open feel and chill vibe that ValleyFest brings. As a craft beer enthusiast, I find it enjoyable to see what new and local beers are being produced for the public. The music selection is varied by genre and it’s great to see young and old all attend a well organized festival. I’ve been attending for 10 years and can’t wait until 2018.”

Chris brings up a great point I didn’t realize as a first time ValleyFest attendee – many beer vendors actually reveal some of their new beers for the upcoming year because the festival is a great place to receive public feedback and promote their beers to bars in the area.

Thanks again to all sponsors, volunteers and attendees who helped make this event possible. I know one thing is for certain – we already have at least one confirmed volunteer for #ValleyFest18.

To view more photos from #ValleyFest17 click here.