Rooster Walk 14 Music & Arts Festival wrapped up with the “Walk of Life” on Sunday night as Nashville band Yarn sailed through “Dire Yarn”, their tribute to Dire Straits.

In the latest iteration of a Rooster Walk tradition, Yarn welcomed members of the festival’s house band along with members of Sol Driven Train for a set that would have made Mark Knopfler proud. A scary-looking thunderstorm caused delays of the Sunday night sets before fizzling out. The expanded band responded by thrilling the damp and dedicated crowd with “Money for Nothing”, Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, and more.

The performance capped off four days of music, food, camping, outdoor adventures, visual art, kids’ activities, and living in the moment. Rooster Walk has earned a reputation as a place to see big acts and rising stars, especially from southwestern Virginia, and the festival brought the goods again. Legendary country-Americana singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris delivered a flawless set of her hits and traditional tunes, while funk-rock guitarist Cory Wong tore through a couple hours of high-energy dance music with his super-tight band.

The festival also featured a reunion of Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band, an early 2000s Colorado group whose members ended up in other iconic modern bluegrass outfits (Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Jon Stickley Trio, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Robin Davis Duo). Blues rockers North Mississippi Allstars, jam-rock band Big Something, iconic singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale and the Game Changers, psychedelic jazz-funksters Dogs in a Pile, and bluegrass stalwarts the Seldom Scene all delivered satisfying performances.

Rooster Walk brought back its house band, made up of seven artists at large who played three sets together and sat in on numerous more. Singer Florencia Rusinol also performed with her own band, while keyboard player Josh Shilling, ageless tenor saxophone dynamo Ron Holloway, and jam band drum pioneer Jeff Sipe guested with many other bands.

Other Rooster Walk 14 highlights included:

  • Red-hot singer-guitarist Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Jamboree, featuring blistering, spacey virtuosity from his Cosmic Country band and guest appearances from Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars, Lauderdale, Holloway and Sipe;
  • Doom Flamingo singer Kanika Moore and prog-funk rockers TAUK performing as Tauk Moore in a smoking hot, booty-shaking set;
  • Fresh faces Mountain Grass Unit out of Birmingham, AL, showing major bluegrass chops for three guys barely out of their teens;
  • Boston-based pop unit Couch bringing sunny, feel-good dance music and fun vibes;
  • Caitlyn Krisko and the Broadcast from Asheville, NC, featuring Krisko’s powerhouse rock vocals;
  • Clay Street Unit, pickers from Denver soaring through two modern bluegrass sets on Saturday and Sunday;
  • The Collection, a pure pop band telling stories of hope and inspiration for folks who have struggled with mental health challenges;
  • Colby T. Helms and the Virginia Creepers, from up the road in Boone’s Mill, VA, entertaining with country songs centering the experiences of the people in the region, sprinkled with humor.

Rooster Walk’s motto and mantra is “appreciate the present” for good reason. The festival was born after the loss in their early 20s of two of the founders’ childhood friends, Edwin “the Rooster” Penn and Walker Shank.

Proceeds from Rooster Walk go toward a college scholarship, the Penn-Shank Memorial Scholarship Fund, at their alma mater, Martinsville High School. Revenue also benefits RW’s Music Instrument Program, which refurbishes old band instruments and donates them to entry-level band programs in the Martinsville City and Henry County public school systems. Rooster Walk has raised more than $300,000 for these programs and other local and regional charities.

Rooster Walk’s home, Pop’s Farm, has more events scheduled this year. Rumours ATL plays a Fleetwood Mac tribute show on July 6th—tickets are available here. The Infamous Weekend returns September 19th–21st for its second year, hosted by progressive bluegrass quintet The Infamous Stringdusters. The weekend also features Donato’s Cosmic Country, the Lil Smokies, the Last Revel, Dangermuffin, and more. Camping, food, drinks, and kids’ activities will be available.

Finally, Rooster Walk 15 is scheduled for May 22nd–25th, 2025. There’s no lineup available yet, so tickets are on sale now at “blind faith” prices—the lowest price they will be offered.