The 5th Annual Community Day was held on the grounds of Nelson County Preserve, home of the LOCKN’ Festival, this past weekend. It’s an event that features local vendors, bands, and artists, as well as all kinds of fun for people of all ages. Attendees are encouraged to bring friends and family for a full day of fun in the sun. Held near the festival’s famous wooden LOVE sign, with day long music on the Blue Ridge Bowl stage, Saturday could not have turned out more perfectly. Blue skies filled with lazy moving puffy white clouds, and a slight breeze that kept the temperatures comfortable, turned out to be a gorgeous day for this annual event. Kids showed up with baseball bats and gloves to compete in the Hit, Pitch, and Run Competition, while adults checked out the items available during the Silent Auction. Local brews and wines were available to quench your thirst, and local food trucks served up tasty delights all while local bands cranked out music from the stage. Lord Nelson, winners of last year’s Rockn’ to LOCKN’ competition, gave a jamming set on stage during the day, in addition to performances by Hogwaller Ramblers and Due South. The event everyone was waiting for began at 4:00 PM that afternoon. The final four bands competing for a coveted performance spot on the main stage during this year’s LOCKN’ festival finally arrived. The fierce competition included online voting up until Community Day. It was anyone’s game at that point. The beauty of the event is that it’s spread out over all of Virginia, and only bands from that state are allowed to compete. It’s quite an honor to secure a winning spot, as it can, and has, helped springboard national exposure for bands who have previously won. The first band to compete was The Fat Catz, finalists who represented from the Blacksburg region of Virginia. Their set ranged from light and airy instrumental jams to psychedelic tones, with jazzy funk thrown in for good measure. They started the competition off with some serious heat and energetic vibes that had the crowd on their feet. Up next were The Dharma Initiative, finalists who represented the Hampton Roads region. With two keyboard players in the band, they brought a tight, nonstop energy to the stage. Extensive jams, with touches of reggae thrown in, really showed the audience that they were giving every ounce of awesome they had at this performance. Disco Risque, finalists representing the Charlottesville region, were third in line for the event. This band crammed their set with heavy bass slaps, funkadelic trumpet, and nonstop, in your face, powerful numbers. As soon as that trumpet dropped the first notes, many attendees in the field couldn’t help but get up and dance. The final band on stage, representing the Richmond region, was DJ Williams Projekt. Once again, the funk was filling the air as this band blasted out their polished set, crammed with grooves that just didn’t quit. Attendees were treated to four incredibly talented bands, and the votes were tallied and winners announced. With voting finally closed, the winners of this year’s Rockn’ to LOCKN’ contest were The Dharma Initiative and DJ Williams Projekt. The votes were so close, and all bands gave smashing performances, that to vote for just one band made it extremely tough. In addition, last year’s winner, Moogatu, which were unable to perform on the one day that was cancelled due to weather damage, will finally get their spot on stage at this year’s festival.Overall, Community Day was a huge success, and the event will be returning to the LOCKN’ grounds once again next year. All donations, including sales from food trucks, as well as vendors pitching in, went directly to the Giving Hope Foundation, an organization that provides support to those in need when facing a cancer diagnosis. Congratulations to all of the bands who competed in the competition and be sure to look for the winners perform each day during this year’s festival. For more information on LOCKN’, be sure to visit their web site for full details. Until then, keep on Rockn’. Photography by Wiley Quixote.Words by Sarah Bourque. Follow on Twitter.