2021 GO Fest Info
Join us October 15-17 in Downtown Roanoke for a three days packed with pro-athletes, races, group runs & rides, outdoor activities, live music, beer and more. See our list of FAQ’s below.
Is GO Fest Happening?
Heck yeah it is! We’re back in full effect October 15-17, 2021. This year will be different though as we are moving to downtown Roanoke. The festival will span all the parks and streets from Elmwood Park through Market Square. Many of your favorite events like the Ultimate Air Dogs, BMX Stunt Show, Lumberjacks, Beer Relay, Go Quest Scavenger Hunt, and live music concerts will be back; but due to COVID some of the national brands will not be participating this year. We still plan to have a killer year and hope you’ll get involved by hosting an event, becoming a vendor, volunteering, or just participating in one of the super-fun outdoor events.
What are the festival hours?
Vendor hours are Friday: 5-8pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-5pm. There will be events downtown and in Elmwood Park, like the headliner concert featuring Vintage Trouble, outside of those hours but not the full festival footprint. Click here for the full schedule.
Where can we park?
One of the benefits of moving the event downtown is there are several large parking garages in downtown Roanoke that will be available. There are a few free options and some paid options that may be more convenient for those willing to fork over the cash (we do not receive any of this money). We will be sending out specifics in the weeks leading up to the event with maps and guides, sign up for updates to receive these emails. You can also view downtown parking that is always available on www.downtownroanoke.org.
Where can we use the bathroom?
All of the downtown bars and restaurants have opened their doors to festival-goers. There are also larger public restrooms in the Center in the Square and the City Market Building. Once you leave the Market Area and head over to Franklin Rd. and Elmwood Park there will be porta-potty banks with dozens of johns for your use. Click here to view the map.
Will it still be free?
Attending the festival downtown will still be free, as always, with dozens of activities for parents, kids, and dogs. We plan to have free live music in the market square throughout the weekend. We will also be hosting a ticketed benefit concert in Elmwood Park, epic team challenge, and races all to benefit Project Outside – since these are fundraisers, they will require funds 😄.
What food vendors will be onsite?
2021 food vendors will be located on Franklin Rd. and include Sangha Tea, Two Roosters Kettle Corn, Blue Cow Ice Cream Co., Grandpa Ike’s Mini Donuts, Island Noodles, Bootleg BBQ, Martin’s Downtown, and Dogtown Pizza.
This year’s event will be held in the heart of downtown Roanoke with dozens of great restaurants and breweries to visit. So please support our downtown businesses as well. See the ABC perimeter details below for which participating venues you can visit and take your drink to-go.
Will there be camping this year?
Sadly due to permitting issues we had to cancel the 2021 camping options. We had high hopes of pulling this off, including a dedicated bike lane along Jefferson to travel to the festival. Unfortunately, COVID concerns at the state and local levels continue to affect event planning throughout our region. We are confident that we will be able to bring back camping for future years. Have a question about this? Email our camping coordinator.
What’s the deal with the ABC perimeter this year?
Our new downtown location is allowing us to experiment with some fun, new options in Market Square. This year we will have two ABC perimeters. The first will be in the Market Area from Salem Ave. down to Church Ave. In this perimeter, you can buy a beverage from one of nine participating bars and restaurants and take it out into the streets to enjoy the festival. Those venues include; Alejandros, Three Notch’d Brewing, Fork in the Market, Deschutes Brewery, Cabo Fish Taco, 202 Social House, Caribbica Soul, Awful Arthur’s and Jack Browns.
The second ABC perimeter will start when you cross over onto Franklin Rd. and continue into Elmwood Park. Within this perimeter, there will be beer gardens (and wine options) in Elmwood that you can visit and again take your beverages with you within that perimeter. You may not carry beverages between the two perimeters as they are separate permits, manages by different organizations.
Why did you move to Downtown Roanoke?
We knew this would be controversial, but we made the best choices we could with the cards we were dealt. Unfortunately, the fields at River’s Edge North are no longer available to us now that they’re fancy, and the south side is a serious flood zone that will lead to unnecessary cancellations anytime it rains. Bringing the festival downtown will be cool in many ways (use your creativity people!); it highlights our region’s unique metro-mountain mix where you can be standing in downtown and get to mountains and rivers in minutes; it will support the downtown, local businesses who are in need of an economic boost; and it will allow us to use existing infrastructure like Elmwood Amphitheater.
Some have implied on social media that we are doing this for financial gain through parking fees or beer sales. We actually will be losing beer sales by allowing the downtown businesses to have much of that revenue, and we don’t get parking fees. We are a 100% NON PROFIT EVENT and every dollar we have ever received, or will ever receive, goes directly back into the festival or outdoor infrastructure. Over the years GO Fest (thanks to your support) has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to trail creation and maintenance, river access creation, outdoor infrastructure projects, small outdoor businesses and developing our outdoor community. Take that haters!
Can we use our own reusable pints this year?
Allowing patrons to bring their own reusable pints has always been one of our favorite things about GO Fest and our commitment to reducing waste. But…unfortunately this year, due to that pesky COVID thing, we will be using single-use plastic cups. With that said, we have an awesome Green Team who will be working hard to recycle and compost as much as possible…if you see them give them a high five.
Are dogs allowed?
They are allowed in the parks and downtown streets. If you head into the market area or downtown businesses, please be aware most bars, restaurants, and shops do not allow dogs inside. Please bring poo bags and take care of any accidents quickly. All dogs are required to be on a leash. If your dog is not familiar and comfortable with other people and dogs, then please do not bring them to the event. If this privilege is abused, we will not allow dogs in future years.
What is Project Outside?
Project Outside is a lasting community fund created by businesses, governments, and individuals to support outdoor capital improvement projects, maintain key outdoor assets, and help launch and support businesses in the outdoor sector. Learn more.
What does Project Outside have to do with GO Fest?
This is our time to invest in our community strength – the outdoors – to continue positioning the Roanoke Region as a preferred place to live, work, play, and visit. Any proceeds that GO Fest raises throughout the weekend will be put toward the Project Outside fund.