FreeFall Festival to return to Snowshoe

SNOWSHOE (AP) — After a successful debut last year, Snowshoe Mountain Resort will bring back the FreeFall Festival with the goal of making it bigger and better, featuring mountain biking and outdoor music and including headliner Michael Franti & Spearhead.

“It was kind of a smaller, homegrown kind of festival, and we weren’t certain what to expect,” said Dave Dekema, the director of marketing. “And it was a fantastic event. It far exceeded our expectations in turnout.”

The FreeFall Festival will take place Sept. 26-28, timed to welcome autumn as well as the fall colors that should be vibrant at an elevation of 4,848 feet.

“Our village is at the top of the mountain, and fall is kind of an extended season,” Dekema said. “It helps give people a reason to celebrate fall here.”

Franti, described as a world music/reggae/hip hop-infused artist, and his band, Spearhead, will play in an outdoor venue created in a large parking lot on Friday night.

“It’s moved out of the core village,” Dekema said. “It’s also at the mountaintop so you have 180 degrees of sunset. That view should be spectacular, weather cooperating.”

On Saturday night, the entertainment will be Slightly Stoopid, an Ocean Beach, California-based band led by co-founders Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald. The band has been described as a fusion of “folk, rock, reggae and blues with hip-hop, funk, metal and punk.” Openers will be G. Love & Special Sauce.

Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. for both shows, Dekema said, with the opening acts taking the stage at 7 p.m. and the headliners at 9 p.m.

Audience members either can stand or bring a folding chair for seating, he added.

In addition to the music, other events will take place during the weekend.

A BrewFest from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday will feature beers from 12 to 18 regional craft beer breweries for sampling, Dekema said. That will event cost $20, and participants must be 21 or older.

Then on Sunday, the West Virginia Cross Country Mountain Bike Championship will be held beginning at noon.

Throughout the weekend, there will be food and merchandise vendors and other events taking place, such as treasure hunts as well as Dock Dogs, a demonstration in which dogs will jump into a pool of water diving for objects. Also, musicians will play in the resort’s bar, The Connection, on Friday and Saturday nights after the concerts.

“It’s an outdoor festival feel,” Dekema said.

The Snowshoe FreeFall Festival will take place Sept. 26-28 at Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Concert tickets cost $25 for one day or $40 for two days before Sept. 15; and $35 and $60 after Sept. 15. Call (877) 441-4386 or www.snowshoemtn.com. Purchase tickets before Sept. 15 and receive a voucher for a free one-day adult ski lift ticket.

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