The Doah Music and Arts Festival of Luray, Virginia, is almost here. This year's lineup is an eclectic mix of bands jam festivalgoers do not want to miss.Unlike Arlington, Virginia's Lock’n Festival and other large weekend music festivals in the region (such as Delaware’s Firefly Festival), Doah Music Festival, July 6-9, is a four-day “celebration of music, art, nature and positivity” that maintains a down-home vibe and atmosphere while still being easy on the pocketbook. Doah is a smaller jam festival without all the hype, yet the festival’s organizers make every effort each year to improve upon previous successes while trying to become a bigger draw. While festivals like Lock’n and Camp Bisco are attended by thousands and feature high-tech light shows and major headlining bands and DJs, Doah Music Festival is one of the smaller jam fests, providing the same vibe and musical entertainment in a cheaper venue (the festival organizer’s own property). A major highlights of the four-day festival is the "river stage," where bands play along the banks of the Shenandoah River while patrons relax on rafts and tubes in the water. [gallery size="full" columns="2" ids="2076,2073"] A beautiful space, the farm venue is surrounded by ancient trees of the serene Blue Ridge Mountains that help partygoers to forget about the stresses of daily life while music plays in the background. Doah also features visual arts displays and encourages attendees not only to enjoy original art, but also help create the art alongside the artists who actively create exhibits during the course of the festival’s four days, whether on site or by bringing their own from home for others to enjoy. The music is virtually nonstop during the four days of the festival; after the bands have finished for the evening, many gather together with the musicians around a bonfire for drum circles, jam sessions, and sing-alongs. In the mornings, daytime yoga and meditation sessions take place and help to balance out the partying while also catering to the positivity and peaceful, happy vibes that the festival aims to sustain. The yoga and meditation sessions are both for beginners/newcomers, as well as for advanced and regular practitioners of the disciplines. As for the music, the eclectic lineup is a mix of jam-oriented bands, musicians, and musical styles that range from reggae to indie, folk to funk, hip hop and jazz, and much, much more. Doah has booked unique local and regional bands that blend styles while helping to keep the party going. Groups such as Cheick Hamala Diabete feature a Malian-influenced blend of West African and American melodies, which are something new and different for most listeners. Other groups in the lineup include Of Tomorrow, the Washington, D.C.-based “supergroup” that plays a mix of rock, reggae, funk, hip-hop, samba, and soul, as well as local award-winning brass band outfit Black Masala, whose high energy live shows feature electric guitar, vocals, drums, accordion, tuba, and brass instruments.
When the bands have finished playing, festivalgoers can keep grooving at the Silent Disco at 1 a.m., or families in attendance can enjoy the serenity of the countryside overnight at the family-only campground on the opposite end of the property from the late-night festivities. The well-lit facility has, in years' past, been illuminated by Tiki torches -- reflective of the nice touch that festival organizers have utilized in creating a fun environment and unique ambiance on the grounds. Even though the festival is a four-day event, tickets are only $99 and include camping. Two-day passes with one night of camping are just $69, and one-day passes are $49. Doah Fest is also offering $219 “Dream” tickets, which include prime river-side camping, food and beer/liquor tickets valued at $115 and $125, free massages on Friday and Saturday, luxury portable restrooms, a complimentary morning Bloody Mary or Mimosa, and a volunteer who will help you to set up your campsite. The private farm on which Doah Festival is held is located two hours from both Richmond and Washington, D.C., on 1929 S Page Valley Road in Luray, Virginia. Tickets can be purchased on the festival’s website.