Friday Night at Opera House Live: Grand Opening of the Upstairs Lounge Featuring the Art of David Rosen & Halloween Costume Party with Sacred Grove!

Posted by  | October 25, 2012  at 2:40 PM  

Friday, October 26, Opera House Live in Shepherdstown, WV, will debut the new Opera House Upstairs Lounge/Bar. This grand opening event feature an exhibit of town masterpeices by Shepherdstown artist David Rosen, as well as complimentary wines and cheeses to enjoy as you peruse his captivating collection.

Opera House Upstairs will be a cozy wine and draft bar where everyone is welcome to settle in and get comfortable. The Upstairs will be open during live events and provides entertainment-goers with an "extended-lobby/lounge" where they can have a few drinks and chat while still enjoying a live audio and large video feed of the performance downstairs.  

Following the upstairs affair, head down to the main floor for the Halloween Costume Party with Grateful Dead cover band Sacred Grove!

"Get your party on for the first Halloween Costume Party of the weekend!! Prizes for the Best Costumes. Be creative, put on your dancin shoes and let's have a blast! Best costume wins 2 free movie tickets and a popcorn!"

Tickets for this event are only $5 and available online here:

Grand Opening of the Upstairs Lounge
Halloween Costume Party!
October 26, 2012
7PM to 8ishPM - Grand Opening
9PM to Mightnight - Costume Party
Opera House Live
131 West German Street
Shepherdstown, WV  25443
Grand Opening - FREE
Costume Party - $5

First Annual Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival

Posted by  | October 24, 2012  at 10:10 AM  
Stacy Grubb & The Clay Hess Band

 October 5-6 marked the premier of the Outer Banks Bluegrass FestivalThis event is destined to become a yearly pilgrimage for fans of bluegrass, gospel, and a wholesome good time. Held in historic Manteo, NC, the festival grounds (fondly referred to as "Bluegrass Island") provided a postcard-esque backdrop for the bands on stage as sailboats cruised the Roanoke Sound and the setting sun cast shades of magenta and amber across the crowd.
The Hickory Project
Aside from the presence of yours truly, West Virginia and the Panhandle region were well-represtend on this Road Trip. Drymill Road, Stoney Creek, Stacy Grubb, and The Hillbilly Gypsies showed the crowd what it means to be both wild and wonderful. It appears that people were impressed too since many of these bands are being welcomed back next year with arms wide open!

The Hillbilly Gypsies

While I went into this event partial to the Panhandle contingent, I came out quite fond of a few Outer Banks bands. To any local festival organizers reading this, be sure to add Banjo Island and Drifting Sands to the short list for your next event. They may have the beach to tempt us their way, but we've got the mountains (moonshine), right?!

Other shows deserving of shoutouts include The Hickory Project, Nothin' Fancy, Nu-Blu, and The Whiskey Rebellion, who even managed to cause a mini-rebellion as the VIP section turned into a bit of a dance party :)

For a first-year festival, things were pretty flawless. Aside from a few shuttle sagas, some confusion with a rule or two, and the loss of my press pass, my complaints are few. Planning for an even better Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in 2013 is well underway as bands are booked and VIP tickets are already selling like crazy! For more information on next year's festival "Like" the new Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival  on Facebook and check out their website at:
Drymill Road
    Stoney Creek                                        Whiskey Rebellion
Doyle Lawson

For more pictures from the 2012 Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, visit Pretty in the Panhandle on Facebook: 

2012 Watermelon Park Festival

Posted by  | October 19, 2012  at 11:02 AM  

Del McCoury
It was watermelons gone wild at the 2012 Watermelon Park Fest: they were floating, dancing, and I'm pretty sure I spotted a few filled with something extra fun (and that was just the fruit!). This event not only boasted one of the best line-ups in the region, but also ensured that everyone was kept entertained all weekend long.
Morning Slow Jam with Mike Ward
For many, mornings at The Melon started out with a slow jam hosted by Mike Ward. Friday morning when I first walked up to the jam, I was greeted by the familiar chords of Country Roads and took it as a sign that it was going to be a great weekend. Whether you played banjo, bass, or even a box, you were welcomed into the jam no matter what your skill level or weapon of choice. Unfortunately, I had left my tambourine and spoons back in WV, but next year I'm coming prepared be it with flatware or *fingers crossed* a fiddle.

Boomtown Hoops
The "official" tunes weren't slated to start until mid-afternoon, which gave festival-goers the opportunity to participate in some workshops, take the kiddos out for crafty time, or perhaps just catch a quick cat nap. Workshops for the weekend ranged from flat-footing to song-writing, to hooping with Boomtown Hoops . Youngsters were kept busy (a key element for those afternoon nappers) with a variety of arts and crafts including foam sword sculpting and the highly-anticipated watermelon carving/boat race.

Now let's get down to business and talk about the tunes! The Melon had three stages: Main, Side, and THE Dance Tent. The Side Stage was the site for this year's Watermelon Park Fest Band Competition (almost as highly-anticipated as the watermelon boat race). This year's competition featured bands from as far as way as Australia! The Green Boys took home first prize, but 2nd place (and my personal pick) went to Chelsea McBee & The Random Assortment from Shepherdstown!

My favorite part of the Main Stage shows were the musical medleys and melding of musicians. The only thing better than seeing one great band, is lots of great bands joining together to do what they love for a crowd that loves what they do. Del McCoury, Larry Keel, Tim O'Brien, Bruce Molsky"Fiddlin" Dave Van Deventer--at several points there was so much musical talent on that stage, sending out such great vibes, you felt like you could burst from happiness.

Larry Keel
THE Dance Tent was a-mazing. After the Main Stage affairs came to an end, you knew that the party was just getting started. Dance Tent acts included The Whiskey Rebellion, The Hot Seats, Dirty Bourbon River Show, and The Woodshedders. To say The Dance Tent lived up to its name would not be doing that crowd justice. There was enough energy inside that tent to light up Berryville for at least month.

The Woodshedders
Dirty Bourbon River Show
Dirty Bourbon River Show
The next Watermelon Park Fest may not be 'til September, BUT Watermelon Park Campground will once again be home to the Shenandoah Riverside Festival in June, and I've heard they have quite the party planned! To keep up with everything, I highly recommend you "Like" the following pages on FacebookWatermelon Park Campground, Shenandoah Riverside Festival, Earth Korps, and of course Watermelon Park Festival!

For more pictures from the 2012 Watermelon Park Festival, visit Pretty in the Panhandle on Facebook

Pickin in the Panhandle 2012

Posted by  | October 17, 2012  at 9:57 AM  

Davisson Brothers
Much like life can't be all sunshine and rainbows, neither can music fests. Sometimes it takes downpours, high winds, and a few mud pies to earn those stripes. The 6th Annual Pickin' in the Panhandle Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival was most certainly a soggy one, but hey, what's a little mud when there's a lot of great music?!

Kentucky Headhunters
Headliners for the weekend included Kentucky Headhunters, Shane Thomas, and Davisson Brothers Band: these guys did their jobs by putting on great shows that left the crowd dancing and ready to party at their campsites all night long. My favorites, however, were the early afternoon sets as well as anything on the side stages. Bands I couldn't get enough of Colebrook Road, The Back Creek Valley Boys, Circa Blue, Drymill Road, and The Speakeasy Boys. And then the weekend ended perfectly as things sombered down (and sobered up) a bit on Sunday afternoon with Stacy Grubb and Doyle Lawson winding it down for this year's fest.

One of the things I love most about music festivals is discovering new tunes. For instance, after Pickin' 2011 I was totally hooked on The Hillbenders (who just came out with a new album, btw). My pick for this year's fest? The Westbound Rangers! Before I even finished unpacking, I found myself listening to their album "Southern Bread and Butter for It" on repeat. Whether they're pickin', strummin', or hummin', these talented young men, with their catchy tunes and touch of quick wit, will win you over from the second they take the stage. Judging from the line outside their merchant tent post-show, I would venture to say that I am not alone in hoping the Nashville-based Westbound Rangers, are Eastbound again real soon. :)

Westbound Rangers

Pickin in the Panhandle 2013 is already slated for September 6-8, so be sure to save that date! To keep up-to-date on news for next year, "Like" Pickin' in the Panhandle on Facebook and follow them on Twitter: @panhandlepickin.

For more pictures from Pickin' in the Panhandle 2012 visit Pretty in the Panhandle on Facebook

Out came the sun and dried up all the rain...


Only 3 Days Left to Snag VIP Tickets for Campfire Jam II: Larry Keel, Leathal Matter, LOBSTER, and more...

Posted by  | October 16, 2012  at 5:55 PM  

It's tough to top a fall Road Trip through the Blue Ridge region of Virginia, especially when your destination includes toasty campfires, tasty crustaceans, and crazy good tunes. November 1-4, you can finish off the music fest season in style as a VIP guest at Campfire Jam II in Greenville, VA. Held at Stoney Creek Resort, this outing is a short, scenic 2 hour drive south on I-81 from the Eastern Panhandle. Not to mention, what better way to hideout from all of those political campaigners crowding your doorstep???
Big Poppa Productions has pulled out all the stops for the VIP's at this gathering. In addition to 3 nights of music in a close, intimate setting, the VIP package is fully inclusive--camping, showers, souvenirs, frosty brews, a lobster bake, the kit, and the kaboodle.

If lobster doesn't loosen those purse strings, perhaps this year's line-up will do the trick. First up, Larry Keel will be at the campfire all weekend long. In addition to his "official" sets, look for lots of extended friends & family jams that you'll want to go on forever, but just be thankful you've got three whole nights to frolic. In addition to the Keels (oh there's more than one), be on the lookout for Nate Leath and his group Leathal Matter, People's Blues of Richmond, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Boatmen and more, more MORE!

Last, but far from least, a portion of the proceeds from the festivities will go to the SPCA, Toys for Tots, and the Greenville Food Bank. Just think, all of those perks and you're supporting several good causes! How can you say no to that?!

Ticket sales for the VIP Packages end THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18 (there's a lot of prep work to accommodate your pampering). Should you feel like not being very important, normal people tickets are an option. For more information and to purchase tickets go here:

Also, be sure to "Like" Big Poppa Productions on Facebook for all the fun updates leading up to the fest.

I will be posting updates and pics from the fest via the Pretty in the Panhandle Facebook Page as well as on Twitter ( @richelecole ) with the hashtag #CampfireJamII 

***Please note that this is a 21+ Event***

Campfire Jam II

November 1-4

Greenville, VA 

VIP 3-Day:  $200
VIP 2-Day: $150
Commoner 3-Day: $115
Commoner 2-Day $95

Sunday in Shepherdstown: The Folly Fall Grill-Off and Gypsy Ramblers CD Release Party

Posted by  | October 12, 2012  at 10:35 AM  

Sunday afternoon, The Folly in Shepherdstown, WV, will be hosting their annual Fall Grill-Off  followed by a CD Release Party for The Gypsy Ramblers!

Enjoy a sampling of gourmet treats from the areas finest grillers ($1 per sample plate) and then stick around to dance off all of those desserts you "sampled."

Should you want to put your flame-broiled best to the test, it's not too late to enter! Entry fees have been reduced to $10 and there is also a non-grilled, dessert category for those of you looking to sweet talk the celebrity judges.

As for the tunes for the afternoon, check out some of the tracks on the Gypsy Rambler's new CD on their website. I believe you'll find them quite catchy and one tune is particularly timely, it being an election year and all :)

Admission for this event is free, but you'll definitely want to bring some dollars for samples and CD's!
The Folly Grill-Off
The Gypsy Ramblers CD Release Party
October 14, 2012
12PM to 6PM
The Folly
301 Big Oak Drive
Shepherdstown, WV  25443
(but bring spending cash)


Tastes and Sounds of the Town: Shepherdstown, WV

Posted by  | October 11, 2012  at 9:22 PM  

The Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic is hosting the 6th annual Taste and Sounds of the Town fundraiser at the fabulous Clarion Hotel and Conference Center in Shepherdstown, WV this Saturday, October 13th from 6-10 pm.

For all the food lovers like myself this is an event a must attend event. If you are already planning to attend this event prepare yourself for some of the best dishes and cuisine that regional restaurants
have to offer.

For those music lovers out there it would truly be a shame if you did not take part in this event. There will be entertainment by local musicians, physicians, and rumor has it even physicians who are musicians!

The Cash Bar will be from 6 to 7pm, followed by Tastes of the Town starting at 7pm. This one of a kind sourer will also be hosting an Auction which will be including some very extravagant gifts. These extravagant gifts include: vacation getaways, WVU tickets, gift baskets, gym memberships, gift certificates and more!

The Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic has been providing free medical care to low-income and uninsured area residents who are unable to afford healthcare on their own since 2001, when local nurses recognized a dire need for healthcare to be available to all residents.

In order to continue accommodating the health care needs of area residents, fundraisers play a crucial role in keeping the clinic running. Tickets for Tastes and Sounds of the Town are $50 per person. To purchase tickets, make a donation or for more information please visit

October 13th
6-10 pm



The Clock is Tickin' 'til Pickin' in the Park 2012

Posted by  | October 2, 2012  at 11:31 AM  

The Hot Seats at Watermelon Park Fest
Sunday, October 7,  Jordan Springs Market and Frederick County Parks will be presenting the 3rd Annual Pickin' in the Park bluegrass extravaganza at Clearbrook Park near Winchester, VA.

Like all great lineups, Pickin' in the Park has booked bands that should appeal to a variety of palates. Expect high-energy performances from bands like The Grascals and The Hot Seats--pull them up on iTunes and amiplify that x10--that are guaranteed to have you on your toes dancing a jig. For those looking for more traditional tunes, I believe you'll find that Linda Lay and Springfield Exit fit that bill perfectly. If committing to a full weekend of festival fun is something you've been timid to try, this one-day event is the perfect gateway to experience why so many people (of all ages) go gaga for 'grass. 

Tickets for this event are $20 in advance or $25 at the gate. They are available for purchase online here:

To purchase tickets in person, drop by Jordan Springs Market and be sure to snag some brisket along with your tickets ;)

For more information "Like" 2012 Pickin in the Park on Facebook

Pickin' in the Park
October 7, 2012
12PM to 6PM
Clearbrook Park
3300 Martinsburg Pike
Clearbrook, VA  22624
(between Martinsburg and Winchester)
$20 - Advance
$25 - Gate 
P.S. If I wasn't going to be out of town for the OBX Bluegrass Fest, you better believe I'd be front and center for this show!