Located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax, Virginia, The Blue Ridge Music Center is a music venue, museum, and visitor center. The center honors the music and musicians of the Blue Ridge Mountains through concerts, exhibits, and programs that highlight the musical heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains region. The center was planned when the town of Galax donated 1,000 acres for its development. The center has a state-of-the-art amphitheater and a 17,000-square-foot museum. It was officially established by Congress in 1985. The site is operated through a partnership between the National Park Service and Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation.
The Blue Ridge Music Center hosts concerts each summer on Saturdays at its outdoor amphitheater from May through October. The concerts include old-time, bluegrass, folk, Americana, gospel, and country blues performances. Free Midday Mountain Music acoustic sessions featuring local musicians are offered from noon to 4 p.m. daily. The 2018 summer schedule can be viewed here. http://www.blueridgemusiccenter.org/concerts.htm
The Steep Canyon Rangers, performing on July 14th, is an American bluegrass band from Brevard, North Carolina which formed in 2000. The band has become widely popular since 2009 for collaborating with actor/banjoist Steve Martin. In 2013, the Steep Canyon Rangers’ solo album Nobody Knows You won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album.
The Roots of American Music exhibit tells the compelling story of the region’s rich music heritage. Visitors can listen to and enjoy music while learning about the development and national significance of this part of Blue Ridge Mountain cultural heritage. This is a state of the art museum exhibit and brings visitors from around the world. Admission to the museum is free.
If you would like to stretch your legs during your visit to the Music Center, two trails are located on the property. The 1.35 mile High Meadow Trail, an easy stroll, takes you through a hayfield and a wetland with an abundance of wildflowers and birds. It also winds through a forest with a rich display of rhododendron, ferns and rock outcrops. The Fisher Peak Loop is a 2.24 moderate loop. Begin this trail at one of its junctions with the High Meadow Trail. The trail winds up the side of Fisher Peak through a variety of vegetation. At the lower elevation the trail follows a stream through mixed pine and hardwoods. Higher up, the blooms of azaleas, mountain laurel and Catawba rhododendron provide a spectacular display in May. They give way to a diverse second growth forest of oak, poplar, maple and sourwood trees. Look for abundant signs of animal life—woodpecker holes, deer tracks, and turkey dust baths.
Trailhead parking is located on Foothills Road (State Route 612). Follow signs to the Music Center, then turn right onto Foothills Road just before passing through the Music Center gates. Continue 0.5 miles to the parking area. The gates to the Music Center are locked at 5 p.m. so you’re not allowed to leave vehicles in the visitor center parking area later than 5 p.m. It is recommended that hikers park at the trailhead parking area on Foothills Road. The trails are for hiking only. Bicycles, horses and motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Please visit http://blueridgemusiccenter.org/index.htm for additional information.