Elevator Pitch | GO Outside Festival

Ride the elevator with event founder Pete Eshelman.
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Ride the elevator with event founder Pete Eshelman.

I run a nonprofit called Roanoke Outside that connects people with the active outdoor lifestyle. We do this through several different channels, but our most forward-facing initiative is the GO Outside Festival, or GO Fest for short.

In the past seven years, we’ve grown the event from 4,500 people to more than 36,000 last fall. One of the festival’s goals is to introduce new people to the outdoors and the brands that help get them there, which is why the festival is free to attend. We don’t want cost to be a barrier to entry.

The festival is like Outdoor Retailer’s Demo Day but on steroids. We’re all about people touching gear, trying it out, learning, with the ultimate goal of getting people for a lifetime. What’s unique about GO Fest is that it is not an ordinary sit-in-your-seat kind of event. It’s designed to encourage participation. Festival-goers walk around in the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, participate in races and challenges, touch and try out gear, listen and dance to live music, and more.

Last year we had more than 120 free workshops, activities, and races people could do – from LNT to SUP. GO Fest is an easy opportunity to show off gear in an environment designed to play. Plus, there will be plenty of live music (the team behind FloydFest is bringing the beats), silent discos, food trucks, craft beer, and camping.

The festival has been voted “Best Outdoor Festival” the past three years by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine, but we’re not done. We’re on a quest to introduce more and more people to the active outdoor lifestyle and we’re actively looking for outdoor gear manufacturers and experiences to join us on the fun train.

Check out more of our Elevator Pitches now!

To get involved or to volunteer, contact Pete at pete@roanoke.org

Elevator Pitches are written by the company and edited for space and clarity. They do not express the opinions of SNEWS or its editors.

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