Long established in the Washington music scene, Celtic-Gypsy-folk rockers Scythian have turned a vision into a reality, organizing, hosting, and playing a festival of their own design. For many families in the Shenandoah Valley area and for many from across the country, this Labor Day weekend was made much sweeter by attending Appaloosa, a roots music festival that met its mission statement with great success: "Music Among Friends." Featured on NPR and The Washington Post, the experience was nothing to simply drive past. It was small in scale, but the energy and enthusiasm of the audience, the performers, the volunteers and vendors was one of welcoming and family. A family-friendly festival set in a scenic ranch resort just outside of Front Royal, VA, Appaloosa was something to behold.
Dan Fedoryka, Scythian's own rhythm guitarist-vocalist-accordionist, related his experiences organizing the festival and playing full-time in the band for a decade. As has been the focus of their Kickstarter-fueled albums, the band's focus is on their fans, giving them memorable experiences through their shows, music, and now Appaloosa. When planning a concert, Fedoryka's priority is to spare no expense and give people the party of a lifetime, a philosophy that has inspired several weddings between Scythian fans and developed a widespread, dedicated following. A tenth of Appaloosa's profits are being given to charities, mostly local to Front Royal, the hometown of the Fedoryka brothers and gracious hosts to the festival. The whole affair was lively and exciting, featuring local, small business vendors and acts from all over the country and musical spectrum, which were purposefully chosen to reflect Scythian's breadth of sound. While the festival may be over, the spirit it brought will surely last the listeners until next year, which all are urged to attend. With a year to plan, Fedoryka is excited and optimistic about growing the festival and expanding its role in the community.
To top off the work behind Appaloosa, Scythian is also touring to support their new album, Old Tin Can, and will play some unannounced shows later this fall in DC at the Howard Theatre and the 9:30. Check out their music and mark Labor Day weekend 2016 as booked for Appaloosa! -Jonathan Goodwin