What’s in Store at Rooster Walk 14? Festival Insights and Excitements

Article Contributed by PhotoFooFoo | Published on Sunday, May 12, 2024

This week, we had the opportunity to sit down with Johnny Buck, the executive director and co-founder of Rooster Walk, to discuss the upcoming Rooster Walk 14. The festival began in 2009 as a tribute to late high school friends Edwin Penn ('the rooster') and Walker Shank. From its inception, the festival has focused on supporting a charity that grants college scholarships to deserving seniors at Martinsville High School and provides instruments and funding to enhance local school band programs. Rooster Walk Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has raised over $350,000 for these causes.

Emmylou Harris will headline Rooster Walk 14

Rooster Walk is all about music and fun, and this year's lineup is as rich and diverse as ever. The festival features Emmylou Harris, Cory Wong, BIG Something, Daniel Donato, TAUK+Moore, North Mississippi Allstars, The Seldom Scene, Arkansauce, and local favorites like Yarn, Caitlin Krisko & Broadcast, and Isaac Hadden. In total, there will be over 60 sets of music across four days, with many bands playing multiple sets, minimizing scheduling conflicts. However, I did encounter one challenging moment in the schedule: on Saturday, I’ll somehow have to be at both Yarn and Jim Lauderdale's sets at the same time.

Daniel Donato

Johnny shared some of the acts he's particularly excited about this year:

  • Emmylou Harris: "Looking back to our first festival, which drew about 350 people, it's amazing to think we're now hosting Emmylou Harris. I'm really looking forward to sharing her talent with our attendees."
  • Daniel Donato: "A returning performer, Daniel will play on both Friday and Saturday nights. His midnight set on Saturday, 'Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Jamboree,' promises a high-energy mix of musical collaborations."


The Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band - photo credit: On the DL photography

Rooster Walk has a history of facilitating unique musical collaborations that become legendary within its community, such as Billy Strings playing with Marcus King. This year, the festival will feature 'The Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band' for their first set east of the Mississippi in over two decades, reuniting a group that formed the nucleus of today’s jamgrass scene.

photo credit: Bob Adamek

The "Rooster Walk House Band" will also be performing, featuring an array of artists who will contribute to impromptu sets throughout the festival. The themed sets include a tribute to Jerry Garcia on Thursday, a 'Jimmy Jam' on Friday (with nods to Hendrix, Buffett, Page, Cliff... Hoffa???), and a funk-infused session on Saturday.

photo credit: Seyl Park

Join me at Rooster Walk in two weeks—don't forget your sunscreen, chairs, and family for a fantastic start to the summer festival season.

Tickets are still available, including Full Strut VIP packages.

When: May 23-26, 2024 (Memorial Day weekend, free to drive home)
Where: Pop's Farm, Martinsville, VA — 150+ acres, roughly an hour’s drive from Roanoke, VA, Greensboro, and Winston-Salem, NC.
Important Info: No alcohol, weapons, glass, or ground fires allowed.
Kids: Free for those under 12; kids' area and activities available.
ADA Accessibility: Limited—rough terrain and steep grades may pose challenges for those using mobility aids.
Accommodations: Onsite camping and glamping available; 40+ hotels in Martinsville or Danville, 300+ local Airbnbs.
Special: Saturday is Rooster Day—wear your rooster-themed hats, shirts, and costumes for 'Rooster Mardi Gras'!
More Info: roosterwalk.com, popsfarmva.com