August 7, 2014
Charlottesville group Erin and the Wildfire is one crowd-pleasing show away from the biggest accomplishment in the band's short history.
"We are competing in the final round of Rockn' to Lockn', and if we win this round we get a chance to play at the Lockn' Festival in September," explained the band's namesake and lead singer, Erin Lunsford.
The Newsplex caught up with the self-described Rock-Blues-Folk-Soul band at Specialty Guitars Plus to hear some original songs as they prepare for the Rockn' to Lockn' finals Saturday night at the Jefferson Theater. The quartet of University of Virginia graduates has already rocked their way through two qualifying rounds, advancing each time based only on an audience vote.
"It's so nice to be out on the stage doing the thing that you love and have people respond to it and show that really enjoyed [your music]. It's honestly the best feeling," said guitarist Ryan Lipps, reflecting on the band's journey thus far.
One more win and they'll win a coveted spot in the Lockn' Music Festival lineup alongside some of their music idols - Grace Potter, The Allman Brothers, and Willie Nelson. The four-day Nelson County music festival, now in it's second year, allows up-and-coming bands to share the stage with some of Rock and Roll's most celebrated artists.
"To have earned an opportunity like this is a huge honor first and foremost, but it also validates all the hard work we've been putting in. It feels like we're really starting to come into our own as a band," said bassist Matt Wood.
The competition, which "gives fans a voice in choosing Virginia talent to be showcased at Lockn' Festival", started four months ago with numerous bands across the Commonwealth vying for the grand prize. Now it's down to just four: Erin and the Wildfire, People's Blues of Richmond, The Trongone Band, and The Northerners, with Erin and the Wildfire the only Charlottesville-area group remaining.
Win or lose, the band has gained plenty of new fans throughout the competition.
"We have a blast on stage, and one of it's an act... it's all very genuine. We hope that we can be uplifting and have [the audience] have a good time," said drummer Nick Quillen.
Erin and the Wildfire will compete in the Rockn' to Lockn' Final Round on Saturday, August 9 at 8pm. An audience vote will determine which band will be performing at the Lockn' Music Festival September 4-7 in Arrington, VA.