Lynchstock Music Festival is Returning to Downtown Lynchburg to Celebrate its Five Year Anniversary
Central Virginia’s largest music festival is moving back into the city of Lynchburg for the first time since the festival left the city three years ago. The show will take place on April 22 in Riverfront Park and at different venues throughout downtown.
This is the fifth anniversary of the Lynchstock festival that featured four bands and 200 people in attendance in 2013.
According to Bryce Morris, the video director and social media consultant for Lynchstock, this year there will be over 40 bands spread out over a total of five stages with an anticipated crowd of over 5,000.
“In years to come we would love to see a stage on every street but for now Riverfront Park is a good place for us to start,” Morris said.
The festival has been growing rapidly. It has gained nearly 1,000 fans each year since its inception.
“Lynchstock got started as just a backyard concert for just a group of friends,” Morris said. “They were trying to throw this concert in the springtime to bring everyone together. Most of the venues were closed down at that time so they just had it in their backyard.”
One musician from the first festival is returning this year as a solo performer. Joel Kaiser was a member of Glass Oaks and performed at Lynchstock 1.
“We were in a back yard with no more than 200 people at a time the first year and now we’re expecting 5,000,” Kaiser said. “It feels absolutely incredible. I’m getting to open for some of my favorite artists and playing alongside of my friends at the same time and that blows my mind.”
In 2014 the festival outgrew the small backyard. It moved to Keep Colony on Rivermont Avenue where it hosted 13 bands.
In 2015 the festival nearly doubled in size and was forced to move out to Benjamin’s restaurant in Forest. This venue hosted over 20 bands in 2015 and 30 bands in 2016.
Last year the estimated attendance was 3,500 despite a brief rain shower that threatened the concert.
“We never intended to leave (the city), it’s just that as we were planning on expanding and getting bigger the city just didn’t have a space that would accommodate us and so that’s why we chose to go out to Benjamin’s and Benjamin’s was really good to us in two years of growing. But in our fifth year we just want to be back in Lynchburg and the Downtown Riverfront Park is the perfect place for us,” Morris said.
Riverfront Park recently underwent construction which prevented the festival from being hosted in the city previously. It received $2.6 million worth of renovations including new fountains, lights and walkways.
“The city has been very supportive of what we’ve been doing so far,” said Jon Smalt, one of the co-founders of Lynchstock.
Both Morris and Smalt said that they believe that Lynchstock has come home to stay.
“The original vison that Jon Gregorie and I had was to get the festival into downtown Lynchburg then bequeath it over to the city and this year step one of that vision is actually coming true,” Smalt said.