New River Gorge resort unveils new festival ground

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Map showing new ACE Festival Ground
The new festival ground at ACE accommodates 12,500.

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Set to open with an inaugural concert June 6-7, the new 12,500-capacity festival ground at ACE Adventure Resort has been designed as a focus for outdoor venues for the New River Gorge region. Hosting its first Mountain Music Festival, the festival ground and stage is intended to support year-round programming on a ridge high above the New River, according to resort president Ernie Kincaid, who says more events are planned for later in the year.

“We recognized some years ago that there was a need for a festival venue in the New River Gorge region, and the ACE resort has all the space necessary to make that happen,” Kincaid said. “We’ve been considering how the site can be used to extend other events, including Bridge Day into a larger event, say even an eight- or nine-day event spanning two weekends.”

Kincaid said the new stage and its parking area have been developed in part of the resort’s 40-acre Mountaintop Campground, though its installation still leaves the resort with the largest camping facilities in the New River Gorge region.

The amphitheater’s capacity has been rated as high as 12,500, but the resort will limit attendance to around 2,500 per day until county officials can improve roads to accommodate traffic, he said.

The 1,500-acre resort on the rim of the New River Gorge traditionally guides more than 30,000 rafters on the New River, contributing 10 million annually to the local economy. The addition of the festival ground, the development of trails, a recreational lake, and a mile-long canopy-tour network on the rim of the gorge have helped the resort build on its core audience of rafters, many of who are returning annually for expanded adventure vacations.

Established in 1980 as American-Canadian Expeditions, ACE has become one of the leading whitewater-rafting outfitters in the eastern U.S. and maintains the largest outdoor-adventure resort in the country. The Travel Channel ranked it top among extreme outdoor-adventure resorts in North America as a result of its size, the number of guests it hosts, and the number of outdoor recreation activities it offers.

The two-day Mountain Music Festival, being promoted as a “Music Festi-Vacation,” will feature broadly divergent bands, billed loosely as jam, punk and alternative Bluegrass. For more information on the Mountain Music Festival, visit¬†http://mountainmusicfestwv.com/