May 23-26, 2024 ❘ Martinsville, VA

This girl is on fire

Erin Lunsford might be the hardest-working artist at Rooster Walk

It’s no wonder Erin Lunsford feels at home at Rooster Walk—she was born in the middle of festival country. She’s working out of Richmond these days, but her family still lives around Floyd and Roanoke.

“I just feel like this is my people,” Lunsford says. “My cousin is Isaac Hadden, who’s playing this weekend also. So I’m just really happy to be here.”

In addition to playing two sets with her band, Erin and the Wildfire, Lunsford is an Artist at Large (AAL) for Rooster Walk 13. She joins at least seven other musicians to make up the festival’s house band, which is scheduled for three themed sets over three days: 1970s music, Jerry Garcia, and JamGrass. (See the RW13 band schedule here.) However, in the true spirit of “at large,” Lunsford expects to pop up as a guest in a number of other artists’ sets.

“I’m gonna be all up in everybody’s business for the next four days,” she laughs. Lunsford has played with fellow AAL Josh Shilling, a singer and keyboard player, but not with the other artists at large. “I can’t wait to get on stage with people and just kind of let loose and see where the music takes us. It’s such a conversation between musicians. I’m just so looking forward to the collaboration and speaking the musical language with people that I’ve never shared the stage with.”

Lunsford looks for every opportunity to make music, pursuing a solo career in addition to her work with the Wildfire. She has released solo music online and maintains a residency at Common House Richmond, performing every first Wednesday at the club.

What’s the difference, you might ask, between Lunsford’s solo work and her indie-pop-soul-funk blend with the Wildfire?

“If you’d asked me that five years ago, I would’ve said my solo project is so Americana,” she says. “But it doesn’t feel that way anymore. I was raised on bluegrass music, and I played claw hammer banjo and flatpicking guitar. So that’s where my songwriting originated. But as of recent, like the past few years, I’m writing a lot of soul and pop music and indie music and kind of using them for both projects.”

The Wildfire released its album “Touchy Feely” in April 2022 after a long break from recording — “five years,” Lunsford says. “That felt bad.” Right before Rooster Walk 13, she and the band had just finished instrumental tracks for a new album they hope to release this fall. Feeling inspired after a good year back on track, Lunsford says she wrote at least 20 songs, 10 of which will appear on the new record.

The rest of the summer will be dedicated to laying down her vocal tracks and playing a scattered slate of festivals and other gigs. And while Rooster Walk is close to her hometown and her heart, there’s something about the high-level performances at any festival that supercharges Lunsford’s creativity.

“When I get to see so many different people of this caliber, I get so motivated to go and write and go and practice, and it just inspires me,” she says. “It makes me want to go play more music whenever I see somebody else play.”

Scholarship applications now available for MHS seniors

Scholarship applications are now available for the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship.

Each spring, one outstanding senior at Martinsville High School is awarded the merit-based Penn-Shank Scholarship, a $4,000 award spread over four years of undergraduate study. To date, Rooster Walk Inc. has donated more than $138,000 to the endowment.

Just like Rooster Walk Inc., the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund is named after Edwin “the Rooster” Penn IV and Walker Shank (pictured below). Organizers of Rooster Walk Inc., grew up as close friends with Edwin and Walker, and their deaths inspired the creation of the Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, which spawned Rooster Walk Inc. (a 501c3 community nonprofit dedicated to promoting music, arts and education in Martinsville-Henry County), which has, in turn, led to the creation of additional festivals and concerts.

Scholarship applications can be downloaded HERE.



Live For Live Music is running a six-part series looking at the process and craft of songwriting. Each story in the series features a band leader who will perform at Rooster Walk 9. The second story focuses on Paul Hoffman of Greensky Bluegrass.

From the story:

“I’ll apply similar ideas emotionally, but not necessarily a linear story, so maybe they don’t tell a story or make sense together, but I like the way they convey an emotion together,” he said. “So when I’m halfway (done), I kind of have to look it and be like, ‘What’s missing to this point, here? This line’s cool; this line’s cool. I like how they conjure this feeling that works together, but, like, what do they mean? And what’s not there?’ And that’s how I kind of analyze them or edit them and then finish them.”


Greensky Bluegrass, The Wailers top RW9 band lineup

Greensky Bluegrass, The Wailers top RW9 band lineup

Progressive stringband Greensky Bluegrass and legendary reunited reggae band The Wailers will top the lineup for the ninth annual Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival, set for May 25-28, 2017 just outside of Martinsville, Va. The two bands were announced Tuesday along with new additions Anders Osborne, Anderson East, The Motet, Susto, Misison in the Rain, Juliana MacDowell and “artist at large” Josh Shilling.

Rooster Walk, which was named one of the top five festivals in Virginia by the Richmond-Times Dispatch last year, will announce additional bands in the coming weeks.

“Rooster Walk has grown each and every year thanks to an amazing family of fans, supporters and volunteers,” said festival co-founder Johnny Buck. “We’re excited to bring these fantastic bands to Martinsville-Henry County. Greensky Bluegrass will continue our tradition of world-class, cutting edge, progressive bluegrass. The Wailers, meanwhile, have reunited and will bring three original members from Bob Marley’s iconic group to Pop’s Farm. It’s shaping up to be a pretty special weekend, for sure.”

Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country’s most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They’ve become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule.

The legendary Wailers band is carrying its revolutionary sound and message to faithful fans around the world. Steered by famed bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett, and recently rejoined in solidarity with original Wailers Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey, this modern version of The Wailers is now producing a sound more authentic than anything since the early 1980s. From Familyman’s signature booming bass to Junior and Donald’s electrifying rock/blues guitar licks and leads, the sound, the power, the heartbeat of Reggae music will have you calling out for more.

Other acts currently announced on the RW9 lineup are The Marcus King Band (southern rock; Asheville, N.C.), Billy Strings (progressive bluegrass; Nashville, Tenn.), Eric Krasno Band (rock/jazz fusion; New York, N.Y.), Yarn (roots/rock; Brooklyn, N.Y.), Susto (indy-rock; Charleston, S.C.), Erin & The Wildfire (R&B/soul; Charlottesville, Va.), The Trongone Band (southern rock; Richmond, Va.); Mission in the Rain (Jerry Garcia Band tribute; Western N.C.), Juliana MacDowell (singer-songwriter; Loudon, Va.) and artist-at-large Josh Shilling (soul/rock; Nashville, Tenn.), a native of nearby Bassett, Va.

In addition to four days of amazing music, the family-friendly Rooster Walk will offer a wide variety of kids’ activities, craft beer, food/arts vendors and beautiful on-site camping.

Rooster Walk Inc. is a community-nonprofit dedicated to promoting music, arts and education in its home of Martinsville/Henry County. A portion of festival proceeds go to the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship as well as the Rooster Walk Music Instrument Program for entry-level band programs in Martinsville/Henry County public schools. The festival is proud to have Bassett Furniture return as its title sponsor once again.

To learn more or purchase tickets, Click Here.

Save the date – RW9 is May 25-28, 2017!

Save the date – RW9 is May 25-28, 2017!

72431280_DSC_1022Hey music fans! Go ahead and mark your calendars for Rooster Walk 9 on May 25-28, 2017. Our ninth annual family-friendly festival will take place at the idyllic Pop’s Farm in Axton, Va.

RW9 will be better than ever! We’ll have tons of amazing music, kids’ activities, craft beer, food/arts vendors and beautiful on-site camping. Early-bird tickets for the fest will go on sale (online only) the week of Thanksgiving and increase in price when early-bird supplies run out (or by Jan. 1st). We expect VIP tickets, VIP/GA RV Passes and VIP/GA Car Camping Passes to sell very quickly, so don’t miss out! Links for buying online tickets will be available at this website. Physical tickets will be available from local outlets in 2017.

Rooster Walk is a community-nonprofit dedicated to promoting music, arts and education in our home of Martinsville/Henry County. A portion of festival proceeds go to the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship as well as the Rooster Walk Music Instrument Program for entry-level band programs in Martinsville/Henry County public schools.


Brewster Walk moving INSIDE the Rives

Brewster Walk will be INSIDE the Rives Theatre this Saturday

Due to a rainy, windy weather forecast, Saturday’s Brewster Walk Craft Beer Festival and Concerts has been moved indoors.

Originbrewster-schedule-2016ally scheduled to occur on the 200 block of East Church Street, Brewster Walk will now take place inside the historic Rives Theatre, located at 215 E. Church St. in uptown Martinsville. The event will feature a wide variety of craft beers from across the country, as well as musical performances from Grammy winners the Steep Canyon Rangers, plus The Trongone Band and Relacksachian.

“The chance of steady rain and potentially strong wind made this the best move for all involved,” said Johnny Buck, executive director of Rooster Walk Inc. “All of the concerts will take place on the theatre’s stage, and we’ll also bring the beer taps inside, as well. Regardless of Saturday’s weather, we hope folks will come out to enjoy amazing beer and music in the friendly, dry confines of the Rives Theatre.”

‘When it Rains, It Pours’

As part of the change, organizers have also adjusted the perks that come with each ticket. VIP ticket holders will now receive unlimited beer samplings, while General Admission ticket holders will receive 20 free beer samples, up from 15. All patrons will also get a Brewster Walk pint glass upon entry to the festival.

VIP tickets cost $50 each, and GA tickets cost $30 apiece. Both are still available from the Daily Grind coffeehouse in uptown, Rising Sun Breads bakery on Brookdale Avenue, and online at HERE.

The event will open to VIP patrons at 1 p.m. Saturday, and GA attendees can enter beginning at 2 p.m. Relacksachian will also begin playing at 2 p.m., followed by The Trongone Band at 3:45 and the Steep Canyon Rangers at 5:30.

A portion of event proceeds will be donated to the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship Fund at Martinsville High School and the Rooster Walk Band Instrument Program for entry-level band students at Martinsville, Laurel Park and Fieldale-Collinsville middle schools.

Steep Canyon Rangers to headline Brewster Walk!

SCR pic 1

The GRAMMY award winning band Steep Canyon Rangers will headline the second annual Brewster Walk Craft Beer Festival & Concerts! The beer festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 8th in uptown Martinsville, Va., on the street in front of the Rives Theatre (215 E. Church St., Martinsville). The event is supported by AutosbyNelson and BB&T.

The event will feature more than 60 delicous craft beers, plus live performances from the Rangers, The Trongone Band and Relacksachian.

Gates open to VIPs at 1 pm and to GAs at 2 pm. The music will end at 6:45 pm (last call) and the beer festival will officially conclude at 7 p.m.

A total of 500 General Admission tickets will be made available. GA tickets cost $30 and will include the commemorative Brewster Walk sampling glass, 15 3-oz.samples of delicious beer, admission to the event beginning at 2 p.m. and all three concerts.

We’re only selling 150 VIP tickets to Brewster Walk. VIP tickets cost $50. Gates will open one hour early for VIPs (1 p.m.). VIP ticket holders also get the commemorative glass, 25 samples of delicious beer and access to the Rives Theatre (our VIP Hospitality Area). Plus all three concerts. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS.

The event is open to patrons age 21 years and older.

Jones named 2016 Penn-Shank Scholar

Cameron Jones
Cameron Jones

Cameron Jones, a senior at Martinsville High School, has been selected as the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship winner for the current graduating class at MHS. The scholarship is worth up to $4,000 over the next four years.

Jones, who will attend Old Dominion University beginning in the fall, was senior class president at MHS and a Wendy’s High School Heisman award recipient. An avid swimmer, he qualified for the Junior Olympics in 2013 as a member of the USA Swim Team. A team captain of the MHS swim team since 2012, he broke school records in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard Individual Medley. He was also a member of the Martinsville Marlins club swim team and of the Bulldogs’ varsity indoor/outdoor track team, according to his scholarship application.

Jones plans to major in criminal justice at ODU with the goal of becoming a police officer and ultimately a member of the strategic task force unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he stated in his application essay. In 2016, he interned at the Martinsville Police Station.

Jones is the son of Jovita Saunders-Jones and the late Carlton Jones.

The Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship is named in memory of the late Edwin G. Penn IV and Walker Shank, each of whom graduated from Martinsville High School in the spring of 2000. Penn, an Eagle Scout, went on to become a skilled carpenter and woodworker for Burr Fox Specialized Woodworking. Shank, who graduated from the University of Virginia with an economics degree in 2004, was a mortgage specialist living in Long Island at the time of his passing.

The merit-based scholarship is funded by Rooster Walk Inc., a community non-profit dedicated to promoting music, arts and education in Martinsville and Henry County. In seven years, Rooster Walk Inc. has donated more than $50,000 to the scholarship fund, plus an additional $40,000 to other local and regional charities, including the Rooster Walk Music Instrument Program. The company’s keynote event, the Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, takes place this weekend.

RW8 named one of state’s top 5 festivals!

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With a 151-acre music venue in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Rooster Walk in Martinsville is a favorite with families and music lovers alike. The multi-day festival offers food, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, camping, craft beer and wine, a six-hole disc golf course, guided float trips on the Smith River and more.

“Rooster Walk is a little more rockin’. We went last year and had a blast,” Jeter said. “They have a beautiful kids’ area and a very family-friendly vibe.”

The festival’s motto is to “appreciate the present” with music, family and friends in a laid-back setting. Performers this year include Lettuce, Sam Bush, Perpetual Groove, The Revivalists, as well as more than 40 other bands and musicians.

Cost: single-day tickets $25-$55 in advance, $30-$65 at the gate; $120-$150 for three- and four-day passes; extra fees for parking and camping. Kids 12 and younger get in free.