The Chautauqua Festival is an eight-day family oriented music and arts festival presented each year by the Wythe Arts Council in Wytheville, Virginia. In its 36th year, it has become an event anticipated all year long by a growing throng of fans locally and across the region. In producing this large undertaking annually, the Wythe Arts Council’s mission is to provide entertainment and extend cultural opportunities to a largely rural area and beyond. What really makes this festival unique is the nightly entertainment is provided to the public, free of charge.
The week-long festivities are conducted in and around Elizabeth Brown Park, just next to the heart of downtown Wytheville. The Festival officially starts with a parade on the third Saturday of June and runs through the following Saturday. On the first Friday evening before the official start the next morning, a Festival Prelude is held featuring a hot air balloon glow, food trucks, games, and a DJ on the lawn at Wytheville Community College.
During festival week, the park is filled with art displays, photo exhibits, food vendors, and a crafts bazaar. Clowns and actors perform throughout the park and there’s music from local/regional groups that perform on the upper and lower stages. The large number of lunchtime festival visitors can enjoy an array of live music while they eat, too. Each night brings a different musical theme with performances on the main stage by regional and national talent. The festival is proud to offer genres like beach music, 50's, country & western, tribute bands, folk, Celtic, gospel, jazz, rock, and bluegrass from the backyard of the Crooked Road. Festival goers bring their lawn chairs and blankets for an evening of FREE entertainment, all underwritten by a host of local sponsors.