Throughout its eight-year history, The Festy Experience has worked hard to produce a diverse festival experience that illustrates its core values: a family-friendly atmosphere, a love of craft food & beer, appreciation for the outdoors, and of course, stellar music. This year The Festy Experience will be held October 5-8 in the Blue Ridge Bowl at Infinity Downs Farm in Arrington, Virginia. The (largely female) lineup comprises a carefully curated blend of national and local roots music acts including Ani DiFranco, Phoebe Hunt, and EmiSunshine who graciously took some time to chat via email about The Festy, her stellar new album Ragged Dreams, and more.
The Festy is in its 8th year. Have you performed or attended before?
I was at Festy last year; the event is like a big family gathering--the artists and fans… all together. It's a very relaxed atmosphere and the most awesome musical experience ever (for everyone).
You will be the emcee at The Festy this year, which is really exciting! How did that come about and what do your duties entail?
Well, when organizers extended the invitation, I had to think about it some; I mean, I'm still learning. I watched Jim Lauderdale last year and he's the best! I'm 13; I don't know exactly what my duties are but I'm up for anything. I've been researching each band (and that's been fun to get to know them and learn about their music and careers). I just want to be hospitable and welcoming to everyone... I hope to do a good job! I just want to be me.
Being that you are a performer, do you enjoy seeing live music and is there anyone you are excited to see at The Festy either again or for the first time?
I really love going to live shows…going to concerts during my off time. While all of the artists on the Festy bill are amazing, I'm really very excited to see the Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, and Joan Osborne. I love the Infamous Stringdusters; oh...and I love Cabinet…and well, just about all of the performers that will take the stage. It's going to be a thrill for everyone.
Switching gears a bit, you recently released a new album, Ragged Dreams, which is simply wonderful. To me, you write with the perspective of someone who seems to have an old soul. Where do you draw from when writing?
I'm an eavesdropper! I listen to everything; I take everything in. I draw from everyday life and what's happening around me--within family and friends, our community and around the country.…and sometimes 'real life' is just hard, or sad, or tragic; that's what I like to write about. I also use my imagination to create stories and situations. Sometimes a scary movie will give me an idea for a song (I LOVE scary movies). My mom taught me to write (she's a great writer as well); I draw from her and she from me. She starts a line and I finish; it's really a great way to write.
Why did you choose to title the album Ragged Dreams, which is the first track of the project?
I wrote "Ragged Dreams" right about the time that we were finishing up the recording of the album. I liked it for the title track because I felt it described my story. We're simple folk from a small town and we may be ragged but we've got our dreams! :)
Would you mind relaying the story behind either "Tennessee Killin’ Song" or "As The Waters Rise?"
We were playing a club in Portland, Oregon. The venue named a drink in my honor; they called it a "Tennessee Killin' Song" (because they know how much I love to write killing songs). I immediately thought, "that's a GREAT idea for a song" and said, "I think I'm gonna write me a Tennessee killin' song!" When I got back to the bus, that's just what I did; fifteen minutes and it was done.
A bit of a long story…
All of my fans asked me to sing "Take Me Home Country Roads." I really tried, but just couldn't get the chords; so, I told my mom that I wanted to try to write a song for them. "As The Waters Rise" just kind of spilled out. I really love that song!
Finally, is there any recent release you cannot stop listening to and recommend others check out?
I have two songs, actually, in constant rotation right now: Jim Lauderdale's "London Southern" and "Purgatory" by Tyler Childers. I just can't get away from either of those tracks right now.
For more information on EmiSunshine visit her official website
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify
Purchase Ragged Dreams HERE
For all of the information on The Festy Experience visit: