STAUNTON __ Two days down, one day to go.
The 4th Annual Fortune Williams Music Festival at the Frontier Culture Museum hit its stride Saturday night as more than 600 people packed the main stage to hear Jimmy Fortune, who preceded the night's main attraction ‹ Grammy award-winner Rodney Crowell.
"That put it over the top for me," Fortune said afterward as he mingled backstage.
The crowds, though, will peak this afternoon as reserved seating is sold out for Garrison Keillor & The Hopeful Gospel Quartet. Fortune, though, is not one to rest on his laurels. Come Sunday evening when the festival wraps, brainstorming for next year starts right away.
"We'll sit down at the picnic table and start planning," said Fortune, who celebrated the birth of his first grandson early Saturday morning.
Robin Williams, who along with his wife, Linda, helped put the festival together, said the crowds will dictate the future path of the event. "They're a part of this," he said. "If it demands us getting bigger, then we're there."
Saturday, the museum's Irish, German, English and Virginia farms offered alternative venues for music fans. Next year, with the addition of the African farm, Williams said it will offer "a whole different kind of music that we can bring in."
John Avoli, executive director of the museum, said the area housing the main stage will be extended before next year's festival. "We'll easily get 1,500 (people) down under here," he said.
As for today's sold-out event, Avoli said those purchasing general admission tickets will have a great view of the stage. "There's not a bad seat in the house," he said.
Following Fortune's show, Elaine Frantz and her fiancé, Jim Wilson, met the former Statler Brother. Frantz jokingly asked Fortune if he'd play at the Roanoke couple's wedding in December. "He said he'd check his schedule," Frantz said with a laugh.
Frantz and Wilson have attended the festival before, and this year they bought tickets for every day of the series. "We made a weekend out of it," Frantz said. "We think it's awesome."