Q: What is the Music Festival's venue like?
A: The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival is held on the grounds of Shrine Mont Camp and Conference Center in Orkney Springs, Va. Shrine Mont is a renovated 19th century resort, centered around a turn of last century hotel that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Festival’s concerts are performed in a rustic pavilion next to the hotel.
Q: What happens if it rains the evening of a concert?
A: Shenandoah Valley Music Festival concerts are held rain (including downpours) or shine. If you purchased lawn tickets, you may be able to upgrade them to the pavilion, space permitting. Or you may want to bring your raincoat, an umbrella or maybe even a tarp and sit on the lawn anyway! Lots of people do it. Rain should never stop you from enjoying an evening of sensational music!
Q: Can I purchase tickets at the gate?
A: You can always purchase lawn tickets at the gate. Pavilion seating is limited. It’s best to purchase pavilion tickets in advance.
Q: Are children welcome at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival?
A: Most definitely! The Festival is a wonderful event for the entire family. Children must remain with their parents and be supervised at all times.
Q: What should I bring to sit on if I have lawn tickets?
A: Blankets, low beach chairs and standard lawn chairs are all welcome. The lawn area is divided into three sections — blankets in the front, low chairs in the middle and standard lawn chairs in the back — to better accommodate everyone.
Q: Is there food available on site?
A: There are a variety of options available for Festival patrons. Please visit our “Concessions” page for details.
Q: Where do I park and how much does it cost?
A: Festival parking is free and is available on designated areas around the historic hotel. We ask that groups arriving by bus provide us advance notice of their estimated time of arrival.
Q: Is the Festival's venue handicapped accessible?
A: Parking for disabled patrons is available and disabled patrons can be dropped off very close to the concert area. Patrons in wheelchairs can be seated on the center aisle in the pavilion for their convenience. (Limited disabled seating is available, please let us know in advance.) A restroom is also on site.
Q: Is it possible to get a refund or to exchange my tickets for another concert?
A: The Festival is unable, under any circumstances, to give you a refund or allow you to exchange your tickets. If you absolutely cannot attend a concert for which you have already purchased tickets, we suggest that you give them to someone else. If you are unable to give them away, let the Festival office know in advance, and we can count the money you spent on the tickets as a donation to the Festival, and you will receive tax credit.
Q: Can I bring my pet to the Festival?
A: Pets are not allowed in the concert area. Patrons assisted by service dogs should check with gate personnel upon entering.
Q: Can I smoke during the concert?
A: Smoking is not allowed in the concert area.
Q: “When I call, I’ve been told the pavilion’s sold out, but when I get there, I see there are open seats. What’s up with that?”
A: If we say the pavilion is sold out, it’s sold out. There are, however, many circumstances that lead to empty seats there. Many patrons buy pavilion tickets as a form of rain insurance. They’ll stay on the lawn and picnic, but if it rains, they’ll head for their seat undercover. There are, of course, the normal reasons for the seats being empty too. People who have purchased tickets get ill, they have family emergencies in or out of town, they forget, they change their minds and so on. Rarely, there are times when seats become available at the last minute. We are obligated to hold a number of seats for the performer. Sometimes, we aren’t told that we can release those seats until 30 minutes before the show starts. Although we do put them on sale, it’s often too late at that point.
Q: “Why can’t people get in before the posted time of gate opening? Why are the volunteers standing around chatting while we’re waiting to get inside the concert area?”
A: We need to keep the gates closed until the posted opening time because the stage belongs to the performers and the technical crew until that time. The musicians don’t want the general public to see them working out sound levels, the placement of their monitor speakers or the dozens of other small details that make them comfortable on stage and allow them to play the best concert possible. Sometimes they are done early. Most of the time they are not. We have to make sure they’re ready to go before we let people in. Occasionally, some performers aren’t bothered by people inside the gate while they’re on stage, but those musicians are the exception. Our great volunteers have nothing to do with when the gates open. A Music Festival staff member checks with the performers and crew to tell them it’s time to open the gates and to assure they are ready. Then, the word goes to the volunteers. They are required to be ready and in place at least 15 minutes ahead of time.
Q: “Why are the ticket prices so high?”
A: We keep them as low as possible. The ticket price is based on the cost of the artist and the cost of producing the concert. To see artists anywhere else, you’d likely pay the same or more. Plus, there are no ticket fees, no parking fees and you can bring your own food and drink. Those are all items that other venues use as a way to subsidize ticket prices. We have none of those options available to us. Great music costs real money, as we’ve said in the past. There is a way to see the concerts for free. Become a SVMF volunteer. It does not require much time or training, although we do discourage our volunteers from volunteering just to cherry-pick one or two favorite artists that they want to see. And, we’ll say it again — ticket income covers only 50 percent of what it takes to run the Festival each year. We rely on individual contributions to fund most of the rest, so when you get a letter from us asking for a tax-deductible contribution, please give it some thought.
Q: “I like to meet the artists after the show. Is it possible to require them to meet and greet the audience?”
A: Unfortunately, no. Some love to meet the public and others do not. It also depends on the artist’s schedule. If he needs to be someplace far away the next day, he’ll generally leave immediately after the show.
Q: “Do you know the words to the song “Shenandoah” and its origin?”
A: Click here for the lyrics. The origins of this song are lost in time. There is no date of composition or composer. According to the famous American folklorist Alan Lomax in his book “The Folk Songs of North America,” the song is a “chantey (sometimes spelled “shanty”), a primitive work chant that originated at sea because of the heavy nature of work on board ship. According to the 15th century Venetian friar Francisco Fabri, the first person to write about chanteying, work was carried out by a “concert between one who sings out orders and the laborers who sing in response…” According to Mr. Lomax: “Shenandoah, the most beautiful of all sea songs in English, probably began as a voyageur song on the rivers west of the Mississippi, taking its title from the Indians for whom the great Valley of Virginia was named.” He continues: “It became, somehow, a capstan chantey, and a favorite song of the regular cavalry who sometimes fought Indians, but also fell in love with and married Indian women.” Another excellent source of information about the song is a book entitled “Shanties from the Seven Seas,” published by Routledge and Kegan Paul and compiled by Stan Hugill, that includes at least four versions of the song with multiple verses for each version.