Erin and The Wildfire have been making a name for themselves on the Virginia scene since 2012, when they formed around singer/guitarist Erin Lunsford. The band, which also features guitarist Ryan Lipps, bassist Matt Wood and drummer Nick Quillen, got their biggest break yet at this summer’s Rockn’ to Lockn’, where they beat out numerous other artists for a chance to perform at Lockn’ 2014. The band ended up kicking off the festival’s final day, and their blend of soulful vocals and rocking grooves proved a perfect fit for the Virginia-based event. We caught up with Lunsford a few weeks ago to talk about the band’s new single, their Lockn’ experience and their plans for the future.
You guys released a new single yesterday, “Blame the Rain”, how do you feel about the tune? How’s the response been?
The response has been awesome. This is definitely the best recording we’ve had so far and we’re all super proud of it. People really like it. They like it. That and “Here I Go” are becoming the stand outs so far. But everyone has loved it.
Between this single and winning the Rockn’ to Lockn’ contest it seems like this summer’s been a pretty big one for you? How have things been going for you guys this year?
We’ve had a lot of momentum this year. We signed with Red Dust Management back in April and since then we’ve had a couple little what I like to call “Biggest Little Mini” tours. We went up from Charlottesville to New York and a couple of shows in between there. That’s been really great getting our name out there a little bit more, people are seeing us travel and then Rockn’ to Lockn’ was a huge deal. So that was kind of the peak of our momentum and we’re just keeping it going with the single. We’re about to go on tour on Friday as well. We also did have one other big festival play this year, which was The Festy.
The Infamous Stringdusters’ festival?
Yeah, we got to play that this year too. So we had like Rockn’ to Lockn’—several rounds of that. We got to play Lockn’ festival. And the other thing with Rockn’ to Lockn’ was it was at the Jefferson Theatre which is a pretty large theater in Charlottesville. It’s like an 800 person room. That was a big deal, just getting to play in that venue, even though it was for a competition. So we had two of those and then Lockn’ itself and a couple smaller festivals like little free fests and things around town. Then we did Festy and now we’re going on tour for a single so it’s just, it’s kind of like the third thing for this fall.
What preparations for you went into the Rockn’ to Lockn’ contest? What was that experience like?
I worked my butt off to win that show. We had a bunch of tickets to sell here in town and I sent out like 100 personal messages and just made all my friends and family come out and just really really hit the pavement trying to get people to show up and support us. And they really did. It was a really rewarding experience not only for our music careers but also it was just heartwarming having that much support from friends and family and then getting to take some of them with us to Lockn’ and stuff. It was a blast. It was also interesting playing against other local bands. We’ve never really done that before. It was kind of a good way to network with other people because other bands were fantastic as well. It was fun.
What was it like actually performing at the festival itself? Was that the biggest show you guys have had up to that point?
I would say so. It was so fantastic I just can’t even—I can’t believe we did that. Back stage Grace Potter was walking around and I got to meet her briefly. She’s one of my idols. I’ve been listening to her since high school and I’m just obsessed. I cried when I met her it was funny. And Willie Nelson’s tour bus was back there. Widespread Panic. I don’t know it was just amazing to see all the musicians backstage, and they were all just hanging out and being really friendly and obviously just so talented. I mean it was wild getting to watch side stage. Seeing how these people play. And the crowd was awesome too. I’ve never been on a stage where they’ve had kind of a megatron TV screen on both sides. So that was a new fun experience for us too.
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