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Kinnfolk Presents: Star Above the Mountain | June 30, 2023

One night only at the Spot on Kirk! Kinnfolk presents "Star Above the Mountain," a collection of traditional Irish tunes and brand-new Celtic folk music celebrating Roanoke, Virginia.

Julie and Josh Kinn (Kinnfolk) on stage at The Spot on Kirk
Kinnfolk performed their "Kinnfolk Presents: Star Above the Mountain" concert to a sold-out audience at The Spot on Kirk on June 30, 2023.

The evening of June 30, 2023 was very, very special to us. This was the night we finally performed "Kinnfolk Presents: Star Above the Mountain" to a live audience at The Spot on Kirk.

We've been piecing together this concert for close to a year now. It all started last summer, when we sent off a grant proposal for an enormous project: to pen a collection of original Celtic folk music celebrating our town of Roanoke, Virginia. Imagine our shock and elation when we learned that we'd actually RECEIVED an Art Matters Grant from the City of Roanoke and the National Endowment for the Arts!

From there came months of research, tune composition, and lyric writing. We collaborated with friends and mentors like Jim Baldwin and the Southwest Virginia Songwriters Association to hone our skills as musicians and songwriters. Josh spent many a night notating our new compositions so that we could teach them to other musicians from the Roanoke traditional Irish session, several of whom joined us on stage.

Julie and Josh Kinn posing with a Kinnfolk show poster
Posing with the official "Kinnfolk Presents: Star Above the Mountain" poster.

Fast-forward to two weeks before the performance, and tickets to our show at The Spot on Kirk officially sold out. Believe it or not, this was our first ticketed show not associated with a festival. And we sold out? Two weeks in advance? WOW. We were absolutely elated.

And then June 30th was here. Were we nervous? Of course! We were about to present a collection of brand-new music to a sold out audience at The Spot on Kirk! But the moment we took the stage and looked out over the audience—and realized that we recognized everyone, every single face, and that you were all there to support us and celebrate the work that we've created—boy, did those nerves evaporate in an instant!

We performed a set of tunes about Roanoke's famous hiking trails. We sang a song about a flood, another about Roanoke's retired work whistle, and another about the feeling of climbing McAfee Knob for the first time. We strummed tunes about our city's many names, and even performed a song in Scots Gaelic.

Later, after we'd packed up our instruments and retired home, we found out that the Facebook livestream of our performance had crossed the screens of nearly 26,000 people! Of those, about 5,000 had clicked the video and watched at least a snippet of the performance. This was our widest-reaching video ever, and we're so proud that it was this performance!

Some Well-Deserved Thanks

We want to thank everyone who made "Kinnfolk Presents" Star Above the Mountain" a success. The Spot on Kirk and Local Colors, Doug Jackson of The Roanoke Arts Commission, our fellow creatives that we've met through the 2022-23 Year of the Artist. John Pence and David Givens, who booked us and ran sound. Our openers, the Appalachian Piping Academy. The five supremely talented musicians--Paul Brockman, Burt Mitchell, Brandon Davis, Tim Sauls, and Dennis McKim--who joined us on stage. Allen Jackson who manned our merch table, Mitch Petersen who moderated our livestream, Anne Sampson who took pictures, and the small army of friends who helped us set up and stay organized throughout the night.

And to everyone who tuned in via livestream: We're so happy that you were able to participate as well, even after the show sold out! Thank you all for watching, commenting, and sharing the video far and wide. You were as much in the room with us as everyone else!

What's Next

"Where can I buy the new music?" We're been hearing this question a lot since we presented our new music at The Spot on Kirk! First of all, thank you for your interest--it feels so good to know that you not only enjoyed the concert, but that you want to listen to everything again!

And we have good news for you: we're planning to take the compositions from "Kinnfolk Presents: Star Above the Mountain" and record them for our third studio album! We don't have a timeline on this yet, but we'll be sure to keep you all updated.

In the meantime, we've been combing through the footage from our live performance and uploading the individual tracks to YouTube. Subscribe to our channel to hear those recordings, as well as any future videos we release!

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