The Breeding Habits of Banjos 

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I'll bet you didn't know that a lot of the more scenic mountains around here are pulled out of their boxes only for folk music festivals. Rest of the time, they're tucked into God's attic. It's true. For these upcoming festivals, just look for mothballs on the hills and you'll know I'm right.

FloydFest 7, July 24-27, perches right in the middle of a cloud, which makes it lovely, but often damp. Nevertheless, headliners include folkie Amos Lee, Rusted Root, punkgrass family the Avett Brothers and, for those children of Deadheads, Tea Leaf Green. But as part of Richmond's trade agreement with Southwest Virginia, we'll be sending local outfits David Shultz and the Skyline, DJ Williams Projekt, Cashmere Jungle Lords and others. Tickets are $30-$140. www.floydfest.com.

Meanwhile, little Mineral wakes from its rural slumber as it becomes a breeding ground for wild banjos during the Mineral Bluegrass Festival, July 17-19. It's a lawn-chair kind of affair there at Walton Park, but in its 25 years, it's learned how to lure the big fish: Headliners include Ralph Stanley and the Del McCoury Band. Tickets are $30-$85. 706-864-7203 or www.aandabluegrass.com.

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival kicks off July 18 with Kathy Mattea and runs weekends through the summer. Other big names include Ricky Skaggs and Eddie From Ohio. Hard to say where exactly Orkney Springs is -- the mountain keeps its secrets. Check www.musicfest.org or call 800-459-3396 to get to the bottom of it.ÿ



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