CULTURE- BUZZBOX- Home grown: Crozet festival spotlights locals

If there's anything Uncle Charlie's and Rapunzel's have shown us, it's that Charlottesville's music scene is willing to extend itself out into the more remote outlying areas. Biff Rossberg of Crozet has taken that lesson to heart– and to the next level.

This Saturday, Rossberg will orchestrate the inaugural Crozet Music Festival, an all-day shindig in (and fundraiser for) Crozet Park. The lineup reads like a Who's Who of local music: Terri Allard, Charlie Pastorfield, Ian Gilliam, Trees On Fire, Sons of Bill– pretty much anybody except you-know-who.

"I actually have more than I can probably get on stage," says Rossberg. "I'm assuming that a couple of people are probably going to drop this week." That's despite short sets– 45 minutes a pop, at most– and plans to keep multiple stages operating at all times.

"I've been told again and again that we've found a hole in the Charlottesville music scene– there just isn't a festival like this around here," he continues. Aside from some smaller events peppered

around the surrounding counties, the closest model would be the annual FloydFest jamband extravaganza held every summer along the Blue Ridge Parkway southwest of Roanoke.

FloydFest is going into its seventh year of operation with the acclaim necessary to draw some heavy performers, and Rossberg aims to grow his festival into something similar.

"I'm hopeful that this will turn into an annual event," he says. "We're already working and planning next year." He also hopes to eventually draw comparable national acts. 

"We've been working hard on sponsorships, and I've been learning how to work my way up the corporate food chain to get at the sponsorship money that will bring in a bigger band like Railroad Earth or Donna the Buffalo," he says.

Of course, he's excited about this year's lineup as well– especially since Sons of Bill has expressed an interest in using the event as something like their signature gig. "James Wilson wants to make the Crozet Music Festival kind of their home festival," says Rossberg, "I'm very excited. So many people see that this is something that we can build." 

Local songwriter Terri Allard agrees. "People are very excited about it," she says. "Once the word started getting out– even before the posters were up– people started asking me about it."

All this buzz is despite the last-minute nature of pilot events like this one– Rossberg wasn't sure he'd even be able to use Crozet Park until five weeks ago.  As soon as things quiet down, though, he's

going to get a 10-month head start for the next round. "I'm going to take a month off," he sighs, "and then we're going to start working on next year."