Live music is a staple of the #BlueRidgeDay experience. On any given day in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, you can enjoy an evening of reggae, jazz, bluegrass, rock or a whole lot more. 

In celebration of the impact live music has in the Blue Ridge Mountains, local music lovers created the annual Down by Downtown Music Festival, which takes place April 14–16, 2016.

[Scroll for our Spotify playlist featuring the 2016 Down by Downtown lineup!]

Throughout the annual festival, Downtown Roanoke hosts more than 50 music acts at six different venues, featuring local artists, as well as national and internationally-known acts that make their way to the region to take part in the festival.

Down by Downtown incorporates a variety of unique musical styles, highlighting the eclectic music culture that exists in Virginia's Blue Ridge. Whether you bring your cowboy hat, your tie dye t-shirt, or your clogging shoes, you can hear it all at the Down by Downtown Music Festival.

This year's headliner is Galactic, a New Orleans based funk band that has been creating great music for over 20 years. Influenced by elements of hip hop, electronic, rock, blues and jazz, Galactic pushes artistic boundaries with its innovative and soulful sounds.

The band's latest album "Into the Deep" was released in July 2015, and focuses on past musical experiences and influences that have led each of the band members to this point in their careers.

Galactic, along with opening acts Fake Flowers Real Dirt and OJR, perform in Elmwood Park, Downtown Roanoke's beautiful outdoor amphitheater, at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. Tickets are available for purchase online.


A photo posted by Virginia's Blue Ridge (@visitvbr) on

In addition to Galactic, Elmwood Park also hosts the Rumpke Mountain Boys and Annabelle's Curse for a free concert on Friday, April 15. The Rumpke Mountain Boys bring their bluegrass & jam-session sounds with them from Cincinnati, Ohio, while Annabelle's Curse is an alternative-folk style band from Bristol. The free concert promises to be a full night of fun for the entire family.

Between the Friday and Saturday night concerts in Elmwood Park, the space will also transform into the finish line and celebration area for the Blue Ridge Marathon - "America's Toughest Road Marathon." Runners from around the country will make their way to Virginia's Blue Ridge to take on the 26.2 mile course that features over 7,400 feet in elevation change!

The combination of the marathon and music festival on the same weekend highlights the strong love for both the outdoors and the arts that we have here in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

When you're not dancing to the music in Elmwood Park or cheering on the runners, you can also check out Martin's Downtown Bar & Grill, Awful Arthur's Downtown Roanoke, Blue 5, The Spot on Kirk and The Quarter, the other five venues for live music during the Down by Downtown Music festival.

The festival also coincides with the inaugural Big Lick Music Conference, an event designed to help those in the music industry learn how to collaborate and make the most of their unique talents. Workshops, panels, and demo sessions will be taking place at The Spot on Kirk and the Downtown Roanoke CoLab throughout the day on Friday, April 15.

To get a better idea of the music you can enjoy at this year's festival, we've created a special Down by Downtown Spotify playlist! Check out the playlist below and get yourself ready for all the great live music you'll find in Virginia's Blue Ridge.

Visit our Music section to learn more about the region's rich live music scene and see our Calendar of Events to find out what's going on in Virginia's Blue Ridge. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to get updates and feel free to reach out to us at @visitvbr on Twitter if you have questions!