HALDEMAN Poppy Mountain is still going strong after 31 years.
This year, the music festival ran from Friday, September 8 to Saturday and over the course of the week, people heard talents such as the Lonesome River Band, Goldwing Express and Oliver Anthony.
“You know, I think we’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of about 400 RVs up here. We’ve had better than average numbers Tuesday and Wednesday,” said master of ceremonies, Tony Pence. “And of course, Thursday night having Oliver Anthony up here we had about a 5,000 people boost I think.”
Anthony, who gained notoriety over the summer with his viral hit, “Rich Men North of Richmond,” said he enjoyed his time at Poppy Mountain and hopes to return for next year’s festival.
Local musician Lucy Becker has been coming to Poppy Mountain Music Festival since she was a child. Now performing on the main stage with her band, she said it has been amazing to see support from the community when it comes to her music.
“I have been just so overwhelmed by support from everyone in the community,” said Becker. “It is just a perfect environment to cultivate growth as a musician and to try new things. I have never felt more supported in anything I have done other than music.”
The band Black Powder Express performed on both opening and closing day of the festival and mandolin player Jason Preston said part of Poppy Mountain is talking to musicians big and small.
“I look forward to those bands that travel for a living and do 200 shows a year. We will get to meet them here in this little green room. Shake hands with them and talk to them,” said Preston. “Even though they might be on a bigger platform, it’s little bands like us they will talk to and ask us about instruments.”
Family is something many at Poppy Mountain value. Pence said he hopes people who attended Poppy Mountain took with them their hospitality and also a slice of hillbilly culture.
“Hillbilly is not a bad word. Study what that word means and you will understand it’s a real thing,” said Pence. “I think people get a dose of humility when they’re here, they get a dose of people being nice to each other. You know if you were hungry and wanted something to eat somebody would feed you.”
As everyone said while at Poppy Mountain Music Festival.
“Happy Poppy!” said Pence.
To keep up to date with information for next year’s Poppy Mountain Music Festival, individuals can visit their website at https://www.poppymountainmusicfestival.com/.