Steep Canyon Rangers Opens 2024 Lime Kiln Season

By Casey L. Higgins

GRAMMY Award winning Steep Canyon Rangers hails from North Carolina and are frequent guests to the Lime Kiln Theater stage in Lexington, Virginia. The band is set to once again share their music from The Bowl on May 10, 2024 - a sold out show - but we have questions. Like, why do they keep coming back?

Graham Sharp, one of the talented singers, songwriters, and musicians of Steep Canyon Rangers, said it's all about the venue itself. "The Lime Kiln is a unique venue and over the years I think we've learned to appreciate what a comfortable, intimate environment can do for both the band and the audience. Everyone is fully engaged and focused, but still outside in such a beautiful setting."

Lime Kiln's history as an entertainment venue dates to 1967 when two Washington and Lee University students put on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in the abandoned limestone quarry. It wasn't until 1984, however, that a regular summer concert series was staged. A series of economical hiccups paused the series for a brief period, but since its better-than-ever reboot in 2014, Lime Kiln has hosted 90 concerts with more than 70,000 people in attendance. By our account, this May 10 concert will be at least the fourth time Steep Canyon has graced The Bowl. Plus, they're the season opener, which eager fans rewarded by scooping up all the tickets within 24 hours of availability. Sharp said the band is "thrilled to start the season" at Lime Kiln. "This time of year is wonderful as festivals and outdoor shows are kicking back in. We'll get the season launched in good style, I hope."

By happy chance, the band had room in their schedule to accommodate the high demand. Within days of selling out their May 10th show, a second show was booked for May 11th. As of this writing, a few remaining tickets are still available. "It's not too often we stay anywhere for two nights in a row," said Sharp. "We were fortunate to have Saturday free on our schedule so when Friday sold out we just add [sic] another night!"

Back-to-back shows could be a tough sell for other bands, but with their 14th album just released this past fall, Steep Canyon Rangers has an extensive catalog to pull from. "We'll probably be playing two very different shows on Friday and Saturday," Sharp reassured. "It's a fun way for the band to stretch out and maybe play some requests or new tunes or songs that we haven't visited in a while." Armed with that information, a fan with tickets to Friday would easily be lured into purchasing a Saturday night ticket as well.

An overnight stay to play two nights in a row means the band may have a little time to spare. We wondered how they might spend it. Sharp said "We don't get to spend much downtime on tour for the most part. I'm hoping to bring a bike or a fishing pole this weekend and get outside if the weather is right ... which it will be!"

The forecast is looking ideal for both concerts and the daylight in between, though afternoon showers pose a slight threat to dampen The Bowl Saturday. Check the inclement weather plans for Lime Kiln if you're attending. Shows go on rain or shine.

A special thank you to Megan Feveryear and Jeremy Franklin for their assistance.

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