Shepherds Ford Productions News - 2015

The Queen of Country
Brought down the house in Berryville

We knew it would be good, but we didn't know it would be that good! Loretta liked being at the park so much she played an extra long set so she could get all her hits in. She also invited Jr. Miller on the bus to catch up with her old friend. We were delighted! Photo by Janet Emma Garbe


A wonderful gathering of folks
The weather was perfect

Everyone setteled in nicely to hear the music of Furnace Mountain, Loretta Lynn, and Peter Rowan on Saturday night. Photo by Tara Linhardt

A full house
All the way back to the river

Thanks to Chester Simpson for capturing this picture of the the crowd stretching all the way back to the river.

Friday Night
Hot Rize

Friday night main stage was alive with the music of Hot Rize and Pokey LaFarge. It's always a treat to have return artists like Tim O'Brian and Pokey along with new band mates. Brian Sutton blew everyone away and Pokey's new larger band got the crowd completly fired up!

Congratulations to Southern Brood
2015 Band Contest Winners

Tara Linhardt presenting the winning band Southern Brood a $1000 check. The band will also revieve a mainstage slot at next years fest so stay tuned. Photo by Pepper Watkins

Band Winners 1. Southern Brood 2. Tim and Miles 3. After Jack

Congratulations Houlton Doucette
for winning the 2015 Weber mandolin

Congratulations to Houlton Doucette for winning the Bitterroot F-Style Mandolin valued at $2999. Thank you to Weber Mandolins Photo by Pepper Watkins

The Picking contest
Winners are...

Houlton Doucette and Joey Mosley about to play together for the first time after winning the Weber Mandolin and Fairbuilt Guitar Contests. Photo by Pepper Watkins

Fairbuilt Guitar Contest Winners 1. Joey Mosley 2. Tim Thompson 3. Dave Saleeby

Webber Mandolin Contest Winners 1. Houlton Doucette 2. Jacob Mosley 3. Miles Thompson

4 weddings, 2 proposals?
At Watermelon Park Fest the family is growing.

This year Watermelon Park Fest had it's fourth wedding to date. We also know of at least three marrage proposals that also have happened during the Festival. One proposal was from the stage. Maybe this is why everyone says we are the best family festival. Photo by Jen Lee

All the way from Japan
Thanks to The Nessie Expedition

A special thanks to the Nessie Expedition Bluegrass Band from Japan for sharing their talents with us this year. Safe travels and we hope to see you again soon. Photo by Jen Lee

The Kids Tent.
Kids got to try out instruments

Shepherds ford would like to thank Stacey Sinclair from the band Split String Soup for heading up many cool new activities at the kids tent this year, including a instrument petting zoo. Photo by Jen Lee

The Kids Tent.
Lots of your favorite Kids activities

Shepherds ford would like to thank everyone who helped make it a great time for the kids at the Kids Activities Tent. Photo by Jen Lee

To Jon Lohman at the Virginia Folklife Program

Thanks Jon Lohman for bringing us the Barefoot movement, and the Gospel extravaganza to the Festival this year! Please check out Virginia Folklife. Photo by Jen Lee

Thanks David and Lisa Coe.
For the Watermelon Boat Float

The center pin of the whole Festival. Photo by Jen Lee

Thanks to Mike and Tara Ward.
For hosting the jam in the Dance Tent

Bringing the community together
with the Clarke County High School Choral Group

Thanks to the Clarke County High school Choral Group for being a part of this years festival.

Thanks to Jan and Kim Scopel and Charm City Junction.
For hosting the Dances

And dosey doe

Thanks to Ted and all the volunteers
For everything

You know it baby! Thanks to Washtub Ted Johnson who wins the Volunteer of the year award. Thanks to and all the volunteers, and friends who work so hard to put on this event. Thank you to Tony Furioso for heading up the Recycling. Thanks to Jason Dengler at Wildwood Landscapes for sponsoring the recycling, and Chip Schutte for his continued Sponsorship. Thanks to Kerry and Neil Stavely of Horse and Hare for the great Poster Artwork this year! Thanks to all the Shepherds Ford Productions Staff and the Watermelon Park Campground Staff. Hats off to everyone for anouther stellar year!

Thanks to Tara.
For hosting the Contests

Nobody can herd up a bunch of musicians to do somthing better then Tara Linhardt. Thanks Tara! Photo by Jen Lee

Photo: L to R David Van Deventer and Frazer Watkins and Tara Linhardt. Photo by Jen Lee.

Thanks to all of you.
See you next year on the last weekend in Sept.

We all make it what it is, and it wouldn't be the same without any one of us. Photo by Jen Lee.

What is a Chirkendoose?
Part Chicken, Turkey, Duck and Goose

Thanks to Joan Gardner and crew for a wonderful performance of The Churkendoose. The Churkendoose is a creature that's part chicken, turkey, duck and goose. He talks in rhyme and likes to tap dance! The Thursday night crowd enjoyed a surprise rendition of this 1940's childrens story told by Ava (Duck), Bob (Chirkendoose), Elanor (Chicken), Oscar (Turkey), music by Morgan, narration by Frazer. Photo by Jen Lee

And one last photo
Check out more

Loretta and John Miller back stage. Photo by Chester Simpson. Veiw more photo's by Chester Simpson, and Pepper Watkins. Click to see the Drone Footage on youtube. If you see and corrections to be made in this newsletter, please send them to me; David Van Deventer at and I'll get it right in the next Monthly Newsletter. Thank you for your support!

September News!

Join us Sept. 22-27 for the 12th annual!
Watermelon Park Fest 2015.

New this year.
Before you pack up to go to the Festival, a few things to remember.

Earliest arrival to the Festival is Tuesday at 9 a.m. Not Monday. We will be using Monday to get set up and ready for your arrival.

The gate schedule is: Closed Monday. Open 9 A.M. thru 8 P.M. Tuesday thru Wednesday. Open 9 A.M. thru 10 P.M. Thursday thru Saturday.

Pets: Allowed only in the RV area, and only by Park Management approval.  No dogs in the tent camping area.

Ticket update: we are not yet sold out, but keep an eye on our Facebook page as we will keep you updated on that and other news.

Watermelon Park Fest Contests...
We are offering over $5000 in cash and prizes

That's right...Watermelon Park Fest Contests are FREE to enter! We're giving away $1000 to first place $400 to second place and $200 to third place bands, plus a 15 minute slot, prime time Saturday to the top band, and a paid slot at the Festival in 2016. This is a very prestigious award. We are also giving away a Spankin' new Bitterroot F-style Mandolin valued at $2900.00 for the mandolin Contest! We also will be having our annual Watermelon growing contest, find out more on the contest page.

Check out the CONTEST PAGE here.

And a Newwwww World Record! Needed 415, got 493

The word is that Galax has taken back the Guinness World Record for the largest Mandolin ensemble ever! Congratulations Tara and everyone! Photo: Josh Butler

2nd annual River and Roots Fest a BIG HIT!
Ok... add David Grisman to the list of greats that have played Watermelon Park:

It was a wonderfull weekend at the Park with the 2nd annual River and Roots Festival. With over 1000 in attendance the bad rain forcasts didn't seem to scare too many folks off. It rained Saturday morning then stopped by 2 pm. Watermelon Park managed once again to steer clear of any rain during all main Stage music sets. The general consensus was that David Grisman and the band sounded fantastic, and a great time was had by all. A big thanks to everyone who participated in this years event!....We can't wait to do it again next year!

River and Roots award raises $3500:
To support the Shenandoah River Keeper:

River and Roots Festival is proud to announce the we were able to raise $3500 this year for the Shenandoah River Keeper. Next year the Friends of the Shenandoah will be the recipients of the River and Roots award after recieving the most patron support at this years Festival.

Thanks to Jason Dengler at Wildwood Landscape and Tony Furioso for sponsoring the Recycling, Jon Lohman and the Virginia Folklife Program for sponsoring the White Top Mountain Band, and Danny Knicely, Wyatt Rice, and Mark Shatz, and Chip Schutte for sponsoring Chip Schutte's Guitar Week teachers All-Stars. And thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council, and The Downstream Project.

Photo by Jen Lee at Watermelon Park Fest 2014

Getting ready:
The Fall event is coming up soon:

Getting super excited about Country Music Legend Loretta Lynn's return to Watermelon Park as well as all the great Bluegrass music with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band featuring Winchester's own Chris Henry, and Hot Rize featuring Tim O'brien. There is still room for RV's without electric hook-up, but don't wait if you're getting the Saturday only Ticket, as those are selling like hot cakes this year and will likely be the next ticket type to sell

Pic. of John Miller Jr. Photo by David Van Deventer

A few more good Volunteers and staff needed
Sign up for Watermelon Park Fest now

We still need a few good volunteers. Go to Watermelon Park Fest and sign up to volunteer at Watermelon Park Fest. If you are interested in one of our paid positions for the Fall event contact us at

Wednesday, July 15th Barefoot Movement:
@Barns of Rose Hill

Come see Barefoot Movement before their debut Watermelon Park Fest Performance Wednesday, July 15th Barefoot Movement: @ Barns of Rose HIll Doors open at 7:30 Show starts at 8:00 $15 in advance $20 at the door

Heartfelt, energetic, and down home. Heralded by CMT Edge as "one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene," the music of the Nashville based group The Barefoot Movement is as down to earth as their intention for members of their audience: sit back, relax, take your shoes off, and stay a while.

Mon, July 27-Weds, July 29
Shepherd's Ford Folk/Old Time Strings and Songs Music Camp for kids

Bring a stringed instrument (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, viola, cello, ukulele, etc…) and your voice, and join in with other kids to make some music. Under the instruction of Fiddlin' David Van Deventer and Morgan Morrison, of the Furnace Mountain band, kids will learn old songs and tunes. The best part will be learning how to make music with others. Bring a lunch. Parents are welcome to drop kids off, stay and join in, or go fishing, biking, or walking along the Shenandoah River.

Suggested Ages: 6-10

Dates: Mon, July 27-Weds, July 29

Time: 10:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M.

Price: $100 per student

Contact: Morgan Morrison 540-409-7852 or email

Location: Shepherd's Ford, Bluemont Va.

Limit: Ten students. We must have six for the class to run.

More info:


Come make History
At Galax


Earlybird tickets end May 31:
River&Roots at Watermelon Park, Berryville Va.:

A big thanks to the Virginia Folklife Program
For sponsoring the Barefoot Movement at Watermelon Park Fest.

A big thanks to the Virginia Folklife Program
For sponsoring Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes at Watermelon Park Fest.


Shepherd Ford House Concert: Maivish
Friday, June 5, 8:00 pm $15 suggested at the door

Maivish explores the landscape of time-honored melodies and songs, and comes home along new pathways, making music with vibrant energy and delight. Gathering traditions from the British Isles, Ireland and America with a mix of original compositions, their performance is infused with lush vocal harmonies, inspired interplay, and captivating spirit. At its core, the group is a collaboration between American fiddler Jaige Trudel and British born guitarist Adam Broome who have been performing together as a duo for over a decade. Maivish frequently includes Matthew Olwell on flutes, bodhran, and percussive dance. For more information contact Morgan Morrison:540-409-7852 Please make a reservation if you are planning to attend $15 suggested donation at the door

Coming up in Berryville
Some of our buddies at Barns of Rosehill

Friday May 29, Charm City Junction:TCatch these great young musicians from Baltimore before they come to Watermelon Park Fest.

Barns of Rosehill

Get Tickets for Watermelon Park Fest

Stay Tuned for the Watermelon Park Fest Line-up to be announced in the May Newsletter.

We are so excited to announce:
For River and Roots Fest

River and Roots Fest has a strong line-up Check out the updated line-up here. More to come

A big thanks to the Virginia Folklife Program
For sponsoring Danny Knicely with Mark Schatz and Wyatt Rice at R&R Fest.

A big thanks to the Virginia Folklife Program
For sponsoring the White Top Mountain band at River and Roots Fest.

Shepherd Ford House Concert: Corn Potato String Band
Thursday, April 2 at 8:00pm $15 suggested at the door

For more information contact Morgan Morrison:540-409-7852 Please make a reservation if you are planning to attend $15 suggested donation at the door

Coming up in Berryville
Some of our buddies at Barns of Rosehill

Thursday, April 30th Jayme Stone's Lomax Project:The Performance at the Barns will Feature:
Tim O'Brien (mandolin & voice), Jayme Stone (banjo & voice), Margaret Glaspy (guitar & voice), Brittany Haas (fiddle & voice), and Joe Phillips (bass & voice) Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax.

Barns of Rosehill

2014 News highlights

Watermelon Park Fest 2014
We picked a good one!

What a great year!
After 11 years it seems as though everyone has found their rhythm. From the Volunteers that come year after year, to Welsh Sound, the folks at Earth vibes, Jill at the kids tent, David and Lisa with the watermelon boat race, the staff at Watermelon Park, and most importantaly the attendees who make it all possible. Also a special thanks to The Virginia Folklife Program, Weber Mandolins, Fairbuilt guitars, Chip Shutte, and Tara Linhart.
Our two Festivals for 2015 will be the last weekends of June (River&Roots) and last weekend of September (WMPfest). Stay tuned to the Newsletter to find out when Tickets and RV sites for 2015 will go on sale. Top Newsletter Photos by Pepper Watkins
More Pics:
Seth Freeman Photography
Chester Simpson Photography
Festival footage from the sky
Cosmic Vibes Review
Hype music review
Our Facebook page

Weber Mandolin Contest Winner
Wade Yankey

And the winners of the Weber Mandolin Contest are:
1. Wade Yankey
2. Erik Burnham
3. Brett Kretzner
A extra special thanks to Weber Mandolins for sponsoring the Mandolin Contest.

Fairbuilt Guitar Contest Winner
Parker Gondella

And the winners of the Fairbuilt guitar contest are:
1. Parker Gondella
2 Jesse Eisenbise
3. Ben French
An extra special thanks to Fairbuilt Guitars for sponsoring the Guitar Contest.

Band Contest Winners
Colebrook Road

And the winners of the 2014 Watermelon Park Fest Band Contest are:
1. Colebrook Road
2. Plank Stompers
3. Rivers

A big thanks
To Jon Lohman at Virginia Folklife

If you caught any of the great workshops at the dance tent this year you may have seen Jon Lohman of the Virginia Folklife. A big thanks to Jon and all the good work of the Virginia Folklife Program. Above pic: L to R Danny Knicely, Sam Bush, Jon Lohman

See you next year at 2nd annual River and Roots Festival
Save the date for the last weekend of June 2015

River&Roots Facebook Page

Furnace Mountain tour in UK
We are heading to Ireland

Furnace Mountain will be spending a month on tour in Ireland in November. To follow the tour online follow us on facebook page Tour dates can be found at

We can't wait
To see you next year

The Kids tent was in full swing again this year thanks in no small part to Jill Evans-Kavaldjian (Round Hill Arts Center Manager, renowned artist and mother of two thirds of the Polka Dots).

Here is a view from the sky of the Festival
Thanks for the video Kevin Miller

Can a Festival change the world?
River and Roots Fest makes a donation to the Shenandoah River Keeper

First annual River and Roots Fest is a huge success and donates over $2500 to the Shenandoah River Keeper. We are all becoming aware that many of our everyday choices are unsustainable for the planet. That is why River and Roots Fest has begun as a Transformational Festival, changing lives and the world by offering sustainable practices, and community building into it's foundation. Everything from the local farmers market, local music, to all the River awareness programs were intended to connect us to our community and our enviroment, and the results were profound. We can't wait to do it again next year! Plus, Watermelon Park Campground and Shepherds Ford Productions were able to send Shenandoah Riverkeeper home with a donation over $2500. A special thanks to Josh Bearman, Shelly at NOAA , Gem at the Piedmont Enviromental Council Jon Lohman at Virginia Folklife and all the local Farmers Capon Crossing Farm Tree and Leaf Smith Meadows Georges mill Farm and Volunteers that made this Festival so special. See you next Year!

See you next year at 2nd annual River and Roots Festival
Save the date for the last weekend of June 2015

New activities at Watermelon Park Fest this year
At the kids tent

The Kids tent will be in full swing again this year thanks in no small part to Jill Evans-Kavaldjian (Round Hill Arts Center Manager, renowned artist and mother of two thirds of the Polka Dots). Join Jill on Friday and Saturday at the Kids Tent for her "Instant Watermelon Tie-Dye" Bring a white or light-colored tee shirt and make a work of art fit for the Fest with Jill Evans-Kavaldjian. Best of all, the shirts dry quickly, and are ready to wear in minutes! See what's new at the Kids tent, Danct tent workshops and more... See the full SCHEDULE PAGE

New at Watermelon Park Fest this year
Music on Sunday

Music on Sunday Maggie Ingram and the Ingramettes Richmond has been recognized for generations as a "gospel town," with a vibrant tradition of African American gospel groups and choirs, and one of its most legendary figures is Evangelist Maggie Ingram. Sponsored by Virginia Folklife Program. Check out all the music on Sunday and more on the Schedule Page.

Earlybird Tickets end August 31st
Why wait till then and risk a sold out Festival, buy now and save

Last year we reacherd capacity at the Festival, and if ticket sales so far are any indication we will be sold out befoe the gates open this year. Get Tickets for Watermelon Park Fest Now.

Danny Knicely puts out guitar album
Some shows near you


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Shepherds Ford Records and Productions