2011 marks the 63rd Virginia Highlands Festival. It began in 1949 by Robert Porterfield, founder of the Barter Theatre, as a simple one-week festival to showcase Appalachian arts and crafts. The festival has now grown into a two-week event offering a variety of venues. Every year hundreds of volunteers work to create exciting new “impressions” of our festival for you to enjoy.
The 2011 theme, “Impressions of the Highlands,” is based on our signature artist scene “Festival Days” done in an impressionism style by Kyle Buckland. Known for his paintings about Abingdon and surrounding Southwest Virginia, Kyle is a self-taught artist and had his first show at 16. Also, he is a resident artist at the William King Museum. Kyle can often be found with his easel set on the sidewalk while painting in downtown Abingdon. As Kyle states, “I hope to give the viewer the feeling of joy that I get from the festival and its atmosphere. I believe that the success of the Virginia Highlands Festival is not based on just one aspect, but on the variety of elements it brings to our town.”