By Elke Thoms
On an evening in April of last year, four friends were sitting on the patio of a bar talking about music festivals. As they discussed what they liked and didn’t like about the festivals they’d attended, the idea of starting their own festival popped up, igniting a conversation.
“We started joking about names, and it just kind of took on a life of its own and became very serious very quickly,” says Ivan Carpio, one of the four founders of Doah Fest, which will celebrate its second year this weekend. “The idea was to take everything we love about the diversity of a big festival—the meditation, the yoga, the diversity of music—and get rid of all the things we don’t like—the long lines, the expensive cost of food, etc.”
Because of that night, Doah Fest was born to the unlikely group. “I’m a physics guy,” Carpio says. “[Between the four of us] we have two physicists, a finance person and a master builder who owns the property and built his own house on the property.”
Together they created the festival they envisioned. Along with diverse music, meditation and yoga, Doah Fest also includes nightly bonfires, an all local and organic menu and direct access to the Shenandoah River, where participants are welcome to swim and relax.
Surprised and pleased by the turnout of the festival last year, the founders are expanding it. One new activity is the Silent Grove, where participants are handed a pair of headphones and can choose to listen to one of two DJs in the room, with freedom to switch back and forth between the music as they choose. Participants are free to sing along and dance, but without the headphones, the room is music-free.
Headlining Doah Fest is Reston-based band RDGLDGRN, whose YouTube breakout hit “I Love Lamp” has led to a full-length album and a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! They’ve also worked with Dave Grohl and Pharrell.
As for the festivals target audience, it’s refreshingly not teenager-driven.
“We’re trying to bring every piece of the community together,” Carpio says. “We want people there who are partying, and we also want families and kids to be comfortable.”
All ages are welcome to the event. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, and children 12 and under get in free with an adult ticket.
1920 South Page Valley Road, Luray
August 8-10, doors open at 9 a.m.