Just three days until the Red Wing Roots music festival begins! The festival, presented by The Steel Wheels is sure to be a fun-filled family-friendly weekend. Trent Wagler of the Steel Wheels has been a long time supporter of cycling and the Northend Greenway. Some of that biking enthusiasm has rubbed off on RWR’s programming and overall ideology. Read more of what Trent had to say about his music, the upcoming festival, and (of course) biking below.
What is the Red Wing Roots Festival, and why do you think people should be excited about it?
Red Wing Roots is a music festival celebrating Americana roots music. Americana is basically all music that makes up the general genre of ‘American’ music. Bluegrass, folk, country, rock jazz, we represent all these types at the festival with some of the best artists and bands from around the country. We partly decided to have the festival here (at Natural Chimneys) because there’s an audience for it. People from the area will be excited about the music we’re playing and actually come out. We also wanted to showcase the area. The Shenandoah Valley isn’t very well-known, it’s sort of an undiscovered gem. People from Northern Virginia, D.C. and further away don’t usually spend their entertainment dollars down here, but we wanted to draw them in. It was really the perfect opportunity to bring people to the Shenandoah Valley and celebrate.
How are Red Wing Roots and the Northend Greenway connected? What fostered a partnership between the two?
The two organizations do have like-minded goals. We’re going to have cycling events at the festival on Saturday– that’s definitely the most obvious connection. There are great mountain biking trails around Natural Chimneys that people can enjoy through out the weekend. We’ll have two rides on Saturday, one 10 to 15 mile loop that’s fairly easy, and a more strenuous ride up Reddish Knob. I’m very excited that we have a cycling component at the festival. The Steel Wheels do a bicycle tour once every year as a sort of ‘bike to work’ thing. We, as well as Red Wing Roots and The Greenway, are trying to get people to see biking as a viable way to do things. When you’re on a bike you feel and understand the physicality of the road, and all its bumps and turns. There’s a philosophy in there that you just don’t get when driving. In some ways we’re connecting with tradition, through Americana music, but we’re also looking to future much like The Northend Greenway. I think the two organizations are very like-minded in that respect.
How many show have you and the Steel Wheels played in your career? How many states and countries have you visited? Just a general estimate.
I’d say about 600 shows. 3 countries and maybe 35 states.
Describe the Steel Wheels sound in 3 words.
Harmony, gritty, and home.
What are you most looking forward to about the Greenway once it’s completed?
Honestly, I’ve just been looking forward to actually using it. Any bike path or greenway I’ve used–even if you’re in the middle of a city–seems to lower stress and add more nature. The sense of security you get when you’re traveling close to nature is just incomparable to a road.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We’d really love to see everyone come out to the festival. It should be a very special event for the whole area. Bring your friends, family, and just enjoy some great music!