Big names to appear at Delaware music festival

Gwen Woolf

Some of the biggest names in country music will appear at the Big Barrel Country Music Festival in Dover, Del., June 26–28 — the weekend after the annual Firefly Music Festival.

Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood will headline the festival at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway.

Music carrie underwoodAmong the performers in the 45-artist lineup will be Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Del McCoury Band, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, the Oak Ridge Boys, Jake Owen, Chris Young, Gary Allan, Eric Paslay, Jon Pardi, Sturgill Simpson, Dan + Shay, Cassadee Pope, Charlie Worsham, Jane Krama, Joel Crouse, and Chris Stapleton.

Red Frog Events, the creators of the rock-centric Firefly Music Festival, and Goldenvoice, creators of Stagecoach Country Music Festival, also are producing the first-ever Big Barrel event.

“We look forward to Big Barrel being a country music and summer tradition for years to come,” said Lauren King, who promotes the festival.

The Woodlands is a 154-acre wooded property adjacent to the NASCAR track. It features outdoor stages, food and beverage vendors, and RV and tent camping facilities. Attractions for the Big Barrel festival include a dance hall, saloon, petting zoo, barbecue pit, family area, and market with western goods.

The Firefly Music Festival, entering its third year, will be held June 18–21 and headlined by Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, and The Killers. Other performers include Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People, Zedd, Modest Mouse, Bastille, Empire of the Sun, Hozier, Cage the Elephant, Run the Jewels, Spoon, Gary Clark Jr., and Charli XCX.

A “first” in Suffolk boasts indie rock

Music BLAKE SheltonThe LAVA Music Festival, which debuts May 16, features indie rock music. The festival will take place at Suffolk Executive Airport, about a 190-mile drive from D.C.

“This is the first festival of this type in the Hampton Roads area, and the intent is to make it an annual event,” said Caryn Durham, who promotes the festival. 

Just what is indie rock? 

“Indie rock can be classified many different ways, but is always very diverse, not meeting the characteristics of the common genres such as pop, rock, country, and folk,” said Durham. “Many of the bands remain on the fringe of mainstream, use unique or less popular instruments, and are not commonly distributed by the large labels.

All that being said, many of the bands are charting on the Top 100 right now and indie rock is kind of on trend, as it isn’t trendy.”

Ten international, national, and local bands will perform on two outdoor stages.

Headliners are Fitz and the Tantrums, a neo-soul group from Los Angeles. Of Montreal, Mutemath, Tokyo Police Club, Robert DeLong, Kishi Bashi, Cloud Nothings, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Major and the Monbacks, and Wyteshayds also will appear.

“These bands are creating some of today’s best music,” said Justin Billcheck, LAVA’s producer. 

Festival attendees should bring lawn chairs. In addition to live music, there will be a Lava Lounge with a bar and retro arcade. There also will be vendors selling food, craft beer, wine, and cider.

LAVA stands for “Low Altitude Virginia.” The festival is presented by Devils Backbone Brewing Company and radio station 96X.


HoustonFest will be held May 1–2 in Galax, located in southwestern Virginia. The festival showcases

nationally known and local bluegrass musicians on three outdoor stages.

This year’s event has a special feature. Many of the performers participated in a recording project called Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited.

The contemporary artists reinterpreted some of the old songs from the 1927 Bristol Sessions, often called the “Big Bang” of modern country music. The new recording is a project of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, a town that straddles the Virginia/Tennessee state line.

A covered stadium is available for seating, or spectators can bring lawn chairs. There also will be arts and crafts and food vendors. Camping is available, too.

Need to know:

Big Barrel Festival
When: June 26–28
Where: Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del.
Info/tickets: 888-512-SHOW,

Firefly Music Festival
When: June 18–21
Where: Woodlands of Dover
International Speedway, Dover, Del.

LAVA Music Festival

When: May 16 (gates open at noon)
Where: Suffolk Executive Airport, 1410 Airport Road, Suffolk, Va.

When: May 1–2 (Friday, noon–11:00pm; Saturday, 10:00am–11:00pm)
Where: Felts Park, 601 S. Main St., Galax, Va.
Tickets/info: 276-236-9908,

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