Music, arts and wine in West Virginia

May 24, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Billy Jonas considers his music a communal experience as his audience participates in the creation of his compositions.

Before the audience gets that far, they might first be struck by Jonas' instruments.

Jonas, 42, of North Carolina, uses a drum kit made of two buckets and a water bottle held together with bungee cords. He wears shoes from which sticks protrude and strike pots and pans on the floor as he taps his feet.

Visitors to the West Virginia Wine & Arts Festival this weekend will get to help Jonas compose songs when he performs Sunday.

There will be seven musical acts, including folk, blues, Cajun and swing music, organizers said.

The festival features about 10 art vendors, including photography, painting and jewelry, said Shelley Aikens, program director for The Arts Centre, which is organizing the event. Some of the artists will demonstrate their craft.


Local artists have painted large palettes that will be unveiled Saturday and will be on display around Martinsburg after this weekend, she said.

Ticketholders 21 and older may taste, purchase and drink wines grown and produced in West Virginia as well as two microbrews on tap. There will be seven vintners at the festival. Food, including barbecue sandwiches, crab cakes and deep-fried Oreos, will be sold.

Aikens said there also will be llamas at the festival.

Blues singer Mary Ann Redmond is headlining Saturday's lineup, and Jonas is headlining Sunday.

Jonas' appreciation for using recycled instruments and his desire for involving the audience was born from a camping experience in Michigan when he was 8 years old, he said in a phone interview.

The counselors would play buckets, harmonicas and guitars and get all the campers involved in performing around the campfire.

Jonas expects 99 percent of his material at the festival to be original.

He makes the audience his default band, handing out parts. Audience members might shake their keys or play a rhythm by banging their hands on a table.

"The homemade instruments (are) sort of the least interesting thing that I'm doing. It has spectacle appeal. The main thing is the song and the way the audience becomes woven into it," he said.

Music schedule

Saturday, May 26:

11:30 a.m. - Voxology

12:30 p.m. - The Woodshedders

1:30 p.m. - The Rowan Brothers

2:30 p.m. - Voxology

3:30 p.m. - The Woodshedders

4:30 p.m. - The Rowan Brothers

5:30 p.m. - The Mary Ann Redmond Band

Sunday, May 27:

1:30 p.m. - Shenandoah Blue

3 p.m. - Zydecoal

4:30 p.m. - Billy Jonas

If you go ...

WHAT: West Virginia Wine & Arts Festival

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 26, and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 27

WHERE: Lawn of Boydville Inn, 601 S. Queen St., Martinsburg, W.Va.

COST: Ages 21 and older: $25 for both days, $15 for single day. Ages 12 to 20: $10 for one or both days. Free for ages 11 and younger.

MORE: For more information, call The Arts Centre at 304-263-0224 or go to

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