Tickets now on sale for new Festival of Gnarnia

Michael Bragg

Tickets are now available for a new addition to the High Country’s collection of musical festivals.

The Festival of Gnarnia will see its inaugural year the second weekend of August at Beech Mountain Resort.

“It’s more than just a festival, it’s an experience, and I think people are catching on to that,” said Appalachian State University alumnus Blake Atchinson, the festival’s sponsorship coordinator.

The festival will include artists like Afroman and Beats Antique, as well as activities like mud wrestling and bicycle jousting.

Most of the team for the grassroots festival is located in the Asheville area, including creator and executive producer Bowie Van Ling.

“I love doing this and I think that kind of explains a big part of it,” Van Ling said. “I can take a lot of my past experiences and put them into one thing that is becoming bigger than any of us could have been on our own.”

Van Ling described this year’s lineup as “more of a modern music lover’s demographic.”

“It’s not popular, but it’s all very beautiful,” he said.

The festival has been in the works since January. The name is a play on words between C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” book series and the word “gnarly.”

Organizers of the festival hope it will benefit local businesses, Atchinson said.

“We’re encouraging people to come to Beech Mountain and enjoy the hikes during the day and eat at the local restaurants and enjoy the vacation rentals,” Van Ling said. “It helps put Beech Mountain on the map to an entirely different demographic of people.”

Many of the bands recruited for the festival this year are from the High Country, including Rising Appalachia and Asheville-based Toubab Krewe.

“We love playing at home,” Toubab Krewe guitarist Drew Heller said. “That’s our home base, and there is no place I’d rather be.”

Tickets for the Festival of Gnarnia are $95 for a three-day pass and $75 per day.

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Story: MAGGIE BLUNK, Intern Lifestyles Reporter