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You may have heard of Floydfest – even if you have not heard of Floyd, which is the rural SW Virginia county where I live. It is the place I went to live 20 years ago after living in Northern Virginia for most of my life.

In order to get away from there.

Not just physically but in the more important way. Psychologically. I moved here because I wanted to live like the people here live. Modestly and quietly. To have as much peace and quiet as is possible, by living among like-minded people. I did not move here to bring Northern Virginia with me.

That is what Floydfest does.

It is a massive, several-days-long serial concert event that attracts thousands of people who do not live here to the area, who bring with them the things Northern Virginia people live with all year long, such as noise and traffic.

And more (and worse) than just that.

Even though it is only once a year and for just a few days, Floydfest has noticeably changed the feel and the actuality of life in Floyd. It has egged on the development of the area, by bringing people to the area – many of whom are like the people who created Floydfest. They are people who like the natural beauty of the area, including the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as the much lower cost of living, due to the much smaller government and the smaller number of people employed by it.

But they do not understand that Floydfest changes all of that.

Or they are people who do not care about that. Who want to change all of that.

They are the people who do not like Floyd – as it is, at any rate. Certainly not as it was. It is too quiet and peaceful for them. There is not enough for them to “do.” They get bored. They do not want to live among hicks. And so they bring in the hip. And with them, Northern Virginia – or Asheville or Aspen, it all amounts to the same thing, eventually – to places like Floyd. Which in short order become McReplications of everything they left behind in places like Northern Virginia, et al.

They either do not see the inevitability of this – or they do not care.

Or they care about something else.

Floydfest brings a lot of money into Floyd, especially for the people who run it. It is how Floydfest – which is a company, not some organic gathering of people – acquired the millions it took to buy up a large tract of rural land for Floydfest.

This land is just off the one main road that runs through the county, which has just one lane in each direction and was built on the assumption of not many cars using it any given time – there being not that many people in Floyd, which has a population of about 15,500 people ordinarily.

This goes up by the same number during Floydfest – temporarily doubling the county’s population. Some of the effects of that are, of course, permanent. Floyd – the county – used to have just a small handful of deputy sheriffs, who drove old Ford Crown Victorias without radar detectors. They now drive $40,000-plus brand-new Ford Explorers – with radar. The people brought to Floyd by Floydfest requires more police presence – and the money brought to Floyd by the fest helps pay for it.

And so do the people who live here, who came here (and live here) to get away from such things.

One can see the Northern Virginia-ification of the area in other ways, too. In the cropping up of million-dollar McMansions on what used to be someone’s farm land – lived in by people who want to live near such things as Floydfest – and the gentrification that rides its coat-tails. Fancy shops in town. Fancy cars parked in town. It tends to push people who cannot afford such things (including the escalating property taxes on their modest homes and land) out of town.

Ask someone who grew up in Aspen back in the ’70s.

This is not to say the people who are behind Floydfest haven’t got the right to buy – and use – the property they bought as they see fit. This is the position of the local woman who is running for Delegate, Marie March. As opposed to some of her “conservative” opposition, that wants to use the government to “stop” Floydfest using The Law – which is just what has happened, this year. The event had to be cancelled on account of the Floydfestians having run afoul of an environmental permitting process.

Many of us breathed a sigh of relief that there would be no Floydfest this year. And hope that, perhaps, there will be no Floydfest again. Ever. But – as March says – the way to achieve that is best achieved differently. The same Law that was used to stop Floydfest could be (per Thomas More in the play, A Man for All Seasons) be turned around and used to stop other things, too.

One of the many attractions of Floyd – as opposed to the Fest – is that there are no zoning laws. It is why the people who bought the acreage to hold the Fest could (so they thought) use their land as they liked.

And now they have been told they may not.

Using government as a weapon is always a bad idea because once you give it a weapon, government will use it. It will not stop using it, either.

So what is the better way to stop something like Floydfest?

Perhaps stewardship.

That is to say, caring for and preserving what make Floyd Floyd – rather than Northern Virginia. Recognizing that some thing are worth much more than money.

There are no zoning requirements in Floyd – and because I own some land – I could use the land to build something loud and obnoxious to my neighbors and the community upon it. Something like Floydfest. Maybe a giant guru statue with glowing red eyes. But I choose not to because I value the land – and the peace and quiet that it provides. Because I value the area – and how it is – and would prefer that it stays. Because I did not come here to change it into a replica of everything I tried to move away from.

I moved here, 20 years ago, to live as the folks here do. Not to change the way the folks here live to suit the way I want to live.

The people who created Floydfest may not have had bad intentions when the Fest was founded some 20 years ago. When it was just a local-yokel gathering of not-that-many-people for some music and fun in the out-of-doors. But it has grown into a business that is the antithesis of everything that Floyd was once about.

It’s what often happens when stewardship takes a back seat to other considerations.

. . .

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  1. As blue cities collapse it is going to get worse Eric. San Francisco bay area residents don’t like the smell of the outhouse they spent years filling. So now they are migrating to the low crime Sierra Nevada foothills and Reno by the thousands to work-from-home for a redo. After selling their homes and condos for millions. The newly arrived angry Democratic women’s clubs are the best. They know they are right and loudly cancel anyone who disagrees.

    • Hi Torino,

      Yup. The question, I suppose, is whether the people in the areas not yet destroyed will permit their areas to be destroyed by these bipedal locusts. The likely answer is – yes. Because what can they do? The only realistic option seems to be to move – again – to get away from them. But, eventually, we run out of places to move to.

  2. I live about 1.5 hours south of Floyd and frequently ride my motorcycle on the great roads up there. I also stay at Willvile MC campground in Meadows of Dan. I’ve never been to Floydfest but there’s a good music scene at the Floyd Country Store.

    • Hi Robbie,

      I have also been to the Country Store many times; it’s just 12 miles from me, down 221. Maybe 200 people can fit inside/close to inside. That’s about the right size for a music get-together in Floyd. Importing 15,000 people is obnoxious in extremis.

  3. Culture is important. People of an area have a kind of agreement with each other to live a certain way. They have a general way of viewing the world, politics, and religion. This builds a cohesiveness among the residents which promotes peace.

    This does not exist on a USA wide, state wide, or city-rural basis, which is why we are in constant conflict. We are thrust together against our will, and someone has to be in charge.

    Places like Floyd should be left to themselves to decide what is best & NYC what is best for them. For the love of god, don’t turn to the government to make someone behave the way you want. Use community pressure instead.

  4. Want to do some creative monkeywrenching … design a counterfeit Floydfest poster with George Floyd’s eminently recognizable mug on it. Then post it on the internet, and in some of the Bidenized neighborhoods of Richmond, DeeCee, and Prince George’s County.

    Oughta be a mostly-peaceful hoot when the urban posses show up expecting a whole different program …

  5. “The event had to be cancelled on account of the Floydfestians having run afoul of an environmental permitting process.” Oh, the irony.

    You are right, however, once GovCo becomes a hammer all issues are a nail.

    We did the same as you Eric and moved to a sleepy part of NC over 30 years ago about 30 miles west of Charlotte. This area was the one that all regions have, the scruffy red-headed step-child county. We chose the red-headed step-child town. I hoped that would keep folks away. It did…until now. The casino opened and with everything else paved over in the Queen City they’re coming our way. The last tax re-val more that doubled the “value” of our 5+ acres. I don’t think they’re done, either.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just enjoy the serenity of a Sunday morning with the birds putting up a racket outside.

    • Hi Mark,

      Yup. I think the Bible was on to something about the love of money . . . This dynamic seems to play out regularly in areas that are “nice.” People move there for that reason, but some of them get bored with just “nice” and a few of them see an opportunity to monetize “nice.” And thereby, turn it not-nice.

      As regards Floydfest: A massive concert that attracts more people than live in the whole county is not unlike diverting Chicago O’Hare’s incoming flights – for several days – to some local farmer’s field. That would not fly, for the obvious reason the farmer’s field cannot handle such traffic. And neither can this sparsely populated county – and its infrastructure. But its people will end up being made to pay for the upgrades to the infrastructure made necessary by the hordes of Floydfestians – and for the inevitable changes to the area, as more grifters see dollar signs and before you know it, Wal-Mart and Taco Bell are just down the road, along with everything not-nice that comes along with them.

      The one upside to this awfulness is that anyone who does have land here already will probably be able to sell it to some transplant Yankee for an appropriate sum and use that money to flee to another place, far, far away.

      That is my plan, at any rate, if things get bad beyond a certain point.

    • I was also a kid in Sturgis in the 70’s. I, however, still haven’t grown up. The Black Hills races and rally was a great event for real bike people back then. Now, its a place for a couple hundred yuppies to take their half million dollar toy haulers with a couple 100k Hardlys in an enclosed trailer, and pretend to be freedom loving bikers. A pox on them.

  6. “Don’t be a dick” doesn’t work anymore, not since the “me generation” and Woodstock. Especially when there’s cash to be had. A 15,000 mass, spending what looks like $300 for the ticket and up to (¡Ay, caramba!) $2100 for a VIP (level ground) camping space probably generates as much net revenue in one weekend as a Dollar General makes annually. And almost no ongoing expenses other than a small office. Difference is that DG fits on an acre or so and is zoned for retail. Who knows what the zoning is for the Floydfest grounds, but I’ll bet it isn’t retail -which comes with all the requirements for traffic, sanitation and parking.

    This thing is a cash cow for the promoters. And it isn’t just the tickets. I’m sure they make a buck off of all the vendors who are feeding and anesthetizing the crowd too. It takes months to work out the logistics and I’m certain there are fulltime employees working on this to make it look spontaneous. Because the last thing anyone wants is a real Woodstock on their hands.

    The way these festival shows work is that there are a few headliners who get the lions share of talent’s fees, then a bunch of newly signed acts in under the same management as the headliners, who might just be doing it for “exposure” and getting paid out of the recording contract’s “tour support.” If they’re lucky they have a song some of the crowd may have heard, but outside of a core fanbase no one wants to hear them. So they’re slotted to 3:30 in the afternoon, when the crowd is baking in the sun and getting cranky. Not much fun when your lead singer is being heckled by pissed off drunk guy. But then your manager can leverage that appearance into other gigs, and more exposure, which looks good to the record companies, which leads to more tour support. And sometimes might even get a few downloads too.

    The cost of staging, sound and lighting, etc is borne by the event manager. For something this size there are a few national companies that can handle these events. It is basically a flat rate. It takes a few days to set up and tear down, unless there’s some infrastructure that stays in place like the stage and front of house mixing location, then cabling and power will be ready. Speaking of power, most of these large PA and lighting systems are run off large 3 phase generators, usually inside a box truck to help muffle the sound.

    The justfication usually given for these events is the bump in revenue to local businesses. But that really only works in towns that are already set up to handle the influx. Aspen’s Food and Wine festival is a nice kickoff to the summer tourist season because there’s plenty of available hotel capacity to take in the travelers, and ancillary facilities that are part of a toursit town already. It sounds like the Floydfest centers around the festival grounds, and because there’s no infrastructre in place the potential for locals to make a buck is pretty slim. Except perhaps the convenience stores who will sell a lot of fuel and hangover food for the trip back to DC.

    • I should point out this is how things were 20 years ago. With the streaming economy record labels don’t hand out cash like they used to. For all I know the bands are living off the lead singer’s OnlyFans page…

  7. Same thing happens up near my part time home every year, several times. They have the SnoDrift Rally and now have a summer one, The Elk Festival and then the dreaded holiday weekends. I never go there on a holiday weekend, either. A huge influx of retards inevitably show up and proceed to ruin the place. I live in a semi rural area here too but it’s a lot busier and it’s 10x worse than it was when I moved here 25 years ago. I bet I ask myself and anyone else within earshot, “Where the F are all of these people going?” at least 3 times a week. I feel your pain.

    • This is why, when escaping the NYC metro area 22 years ago, I made sure to find an out-of-the-way hard to get to place, far from the inturdstate or aeroport. It paid off…as I see the state to the south of me being influxed by exNYers and exCAers…..

  8. Well, there may be ONE benefit to the pushing of Eeeee-Veees and relieving the average Joe of the ability to afford and drive functional vehicles: Things like FloydFest and every yutz with a Prius moving to the countryside may become a thing of the past. Of course, we may have to resort to horses and unicycles…..but if that’s the price of being left alone, I could dig it.

    “FloydFest”- When I saw that term, I first imagined that it had something to do with Chemical-martyr George Floyd…..

  9. The first thing I did when relocating to my present rural area was to “meet and greet” my fellow farmer neighbors to assure them that agricultural operations and the associated smells and noises would not be a problem and that preserving the rural nature of the area was of prime importance while offering help to them if needed.
    My township does not have a “town” or even a defined residential area outside of a trailer park at the edge of the township which qualifies as the township’s “low income housing”. To build, there is a five-acre minimum “lot size”. There are no subdivisions.
    I will not name the township as I want to keep the rural nature going for as long as possible.

  10. @Eric – What is the position of your county/state with regard to weed relative to surrounding counties/states?

    If the laws are very relaxed relative to the neighboring governing entities, that festival could get very large indeed, particularly once the transportation improves access to the area.

    As I saw in WA and OR during the early days of decriminalization about a decade ago, at a certain point, legalization becomes less about Libertarian thought and more about dumb yuppies wanting to experiment with “the lifestyle” and wanting to bring home edible souvenirs to keep the mellow flowing, with many rural governments desiring to cash in on that interest.

    • Hi Roscoe,

      Yup – it’s already the case. And – voila – drug checkpoints on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Because of all the “city people” coming for a few days of “festival.”

      • It always goes back to the morals and values of the locals. “Decriminalization” used to mean “if I get pulled over with roach in my ashtray I’m not going to jail.”
        Currently in Portland Oregon it means “I can shoot fentynal on the sidewalk while masturbating in my own feces and you’re not allowed to say anything to me.”

        Stewardship vs. Codes and statutes

  11. Well, at least it isn’t Freaknik. Or a drag show or a gay leather festival.

    I’m sure someone’s planning that next, though, to teach you yokels the value of “diversity.”

    • It’s funny you mentioned drag shows. Some out of towners recently opened a swanky restaurant in Luray. I’d bet the farm they were transplants from the “Mordor on the Potomac” area (D.C.). But anyway, they just put one of those freak shows, circus event on at their establishment. I grew up near that town and knew the majority of the people by name or face. Now I see plenty of strangers that have changed the town and not for the better.

      • Ahh, you must be referring to Watch and Warrant. We had a similar issue in my small town. The original place was old dive that served seafood. A group of four young ladies purchased it about three years ago and decided that our little area needed to be “woke.” They began hosting Sunday brunch drag shows once a month. I can’t say I was upset when they didn’t make it to the first year of their restaurant’s anniversary. Today sits an empty building near the railroad tracks.

    • They might fix your roads if you welcomed some trans-demon leather fests into your locale. Thats the position of some of the leftists out here. ‘Embrace the suck’ and GovCo will do for you what their supposed to do anyway.

  12. Floydfest sounds like a great camping spot I used to frequent in the Sierra Nevada mountains on a holiday weekend. 350 days a year it was a picturesque meadow fed by a natural spring with deer and all sorts of wildlife. So quiet you could hear a mouse fart.
    Thennnn, in come the ghetto blasters atvs, dirtbikes and retarded city people whose goal was to shred the peace and drive everybody insane for three days

    The good thing was it was inaccessible enough you couldn’t really navigate a large trailer up the access road so it was mostly tent camping and small trailers.

    • Hi Sicilian,

      The Floydfest people bought the new grounds for this “fest” with frontage on U.S. 221- which is the only way in or out of the area. You can imagine the traffic scenario when 15,000-plus people need to get in and out of the “fest” via that otherwise rural stretch of county road. And imagine the fate of the poor landowners adjacent to the “fest.”

      • I hope there no farm equipment “failures” on the highway at inopportune times. Poorly timed fertilizing (manurespreader) in adjacent fields should definitely be avoided as well.

  13. What are the current plans at VDOT with regard to the I77 toll lanes running north from Charlotte?

    Again, keep an eye on VDOT and Transurban in Virginia.

    • Roscoe, I didn’t realize VDOT was considering toll lanes. They end ~25 miles north of Charlotte about 70 miles from the VA border. VA doesn’t seem to have the traffic to support such idiocy
      (even Charlotte doesn’t) but, then, it is GovCo.

  14. I feel the same way about what’s happening in our rural area. The solar companies have come here and offered big bucks to landowners to lease their land for their solar “farms”. What once was a peaceful, quiet rural area has been turned into an ugly, futuristic landscape by those black eyesores. It has changed this area permanently, I feel. As most people know, it all comes down to the dollar signs, the shysters offer riches to the landowners and they accept. People that I have known my whole life are now like strangers. It is truly sickening.

  15. “Ahh, it’s such a beautiful place! Let’s see if we cant’ fuck it up.” The mantra of the blue emigration.

    • Yep, human locust swarms. We had some in the past move here for the rural/farm scenery and then raise a “stink” about farmers spreading manure to fertilize their farms. So far they’ve been told to love it or leave it. But that may change when the “colony swarm” gets here.

  16. ‘there are no zoning laws’ — eric

    That’s remarkable. As far as I know, Houston is the only big city that has no zoning.

    Among the nation’s 3,142 counties, I’d bet 90 percent of them have zoning.

    Enjoy it while you can. ‘Planners’ find a zoning vacuum anomalous and frightening: no one is in charge. The horror!

    • I live in a poor county that has no zoning or building codes. Once upon a time a candidate for the county commission caught me outside working on one of my vehicles. He told me that the county was one of the poorest in the State!!!! I replied, “so what’s the problem? somebody has to be.” He said we needed zoning and building codes. I answered “the lack of such is why I moved here. If you impose them I will move again to someplace that hasn’t.” Truly stunned him speechless. Fortunately, he didn’t win the seat. By a wide margin.
      In 2006 I had a new house built. The contractor and his subs were frequently coming to me with complaint that what I wanted violated building code. “We don’t have a building code here. Do it”.

      • Wow. Didn’t know any jurisdictions still existed without a building code.

        My county likewise is rural and poor. But the code enforcers are sticklers. Just down the street from me is a project that got shut down, when the owner demolished his deck without a permit. The nerve of that guy! /sarc

        • Apparently your county government isn’t poor enough, as we like to keep ours. The Sheriff has a “call us if you need us” attitude, and does not do traffic patrols, because they can’t afford to. The only time I see a deputy is if there’s been a wreck.

      • John, I’m in the same state, but our county is next to the big city to your east (hint: the baseball team’s name rhymes with “Schmardinals”). A couple of decades ago I had to grovel before the Planning & Zoning Commission for a conditional use permit to build a shop on our rural property for my small CNC machining business. They grilled me about business hours, shipping and receiving, traffic, and pollution. It was absurd, considering that our land was and continues to be zoned “agricultural non-urban.” My little operation was quite benign compared to real agriculture, which can generate noise, heavy truck traffic, dust and odors 24 hours a day.

        • Which is precisely why I moved out of the neighboring “peoples’ republic of X” county 35 years ago. A friend back then got a visit from County Code Enforcement for building a one dog kennel without permission. Time to go.

  17. Hey Eric, on a different driving note, Route 8 between Stuart and Floyd is a beautiful drive. (Work for a trucking company doing deliveries to stores out of South Boston, Va sometimes)

    • Hi Stephen,

      Yup! And (as you know) 8 takes you up toward the Blue Ridge Parkway and Meadows of Dan, a gorgeous area. I’m sure someone thinks it’s a perfect place for a Taco Bell.

        • Two Targets, right across the freeway from each other, like I saw in American Canyon, CA twenty five years ago.

          I believe they were separate grocery and general merchandise buildings, but both structures were huge.

      • No Taco Bell for them (too low class, blue collar for them)! More likely a vegan, tofu establishment that serves dishes with an “artistic flair”!


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