The musical history of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia dates back to the European settlers who brought their music to the new world. The musical legacy continues today and can be enjoyed at the many festivals which are held through the summer months.
1) HoustonFest, June 7 – 8, 2019
HoustonFest, a music festival that features multiple regional and national bands ranging in style from Bluegrass to Old Time, is being held June 8 & 9, 2018 at Felts Park in Galax, VA. Artisans from Galax and the surrounding area demonstrate and sell their crafts, while food vendors serve up local dishes. The festival, which honors local musician Houston Caldwell who passed away in 2010, raises money for scholarships that go to musical training and education for youth.
One of my favorite musicians, Presley Barker, will perform again this year. You can check out his music here: https://youtu.be/B_wh4YpMSp8
Visit https://www.houstonfestgalax.com/index.html for additional information.
2) Mountains of Music Homecoming, June 7 – 15, 2019
The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is an annual nine-day, region-wide celebration of all the communities in Southwest Virginia – their traditional music, and all their many cultural and natural assets. The event includes Crooked Road marquee concerts in approximately 20 communities and many dozens of cultural events throughout the region. You can learn more here: https://mtnsofmusic.com/
3) Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition, June 15, 2019
On the third Saturday of every June at Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, the Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition features some of the region’s best traditional musicians. From time to time, they have shared the stage with bluegrass bands from Europe.
The event takes its name from National Heritage Award recipient Wayne C. Henderson, a musician and instrument maker who lives in nearby Rugby, Virginia. Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family, and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar and in seven nations of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Wayne and many of his musical friends are featured performers at the festival, with bluegrass and old-time music dominating the program. The Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition was established in 1995 to express appreciation for this living legend. A portion of the proceeds from the festival are placed into a scholarship fund to aid local young musicians in continuing their educations. More than $237,950 has been awarded through the 2018 festival.
Click here for Wayne Henderson’s rendition of “The Steel Guitar Rag.” https://youtu.be/EFgw_pplZ-Q
Visit https://www.waynehenderson.org/ for additional information.
4) Grayson County Old-Time & Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention, June 28 – 29, 2019
The Grayson County Old Time and Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention is always held the last full weekend in June. Cash prizes and rosettes in old time and bluegrass individual & band categories. Contestants register on-site. Camping on the grounds is available, and we now offer showers! Food and refreshments available for purchase. Bring your lawn chair or blankets and the whole family for two nights of great music and dancing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Please visit http://www.ecvfd.net/home/grayson-county-fiddler-s-convention for additional information.
5) Floydfest, Wednesday, July 24 – 28, 2019
FloydFest features five days of Music, Magic, and Mountains, in a picturesque paradise at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, VA. The festival takes place on 80 acres of mountain plateau land and features a “Global Village” area of progressive workshops and demonstrations, including a healing arts area, over 100 artisans, and a wide array of food options from sushi to barbecue. Visit https://floydfest.com/ for additional information.
6) Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, August 5 – 10, 2019
The 84th Annual Fiddler’s Convention is being held August 5 – 10, 2019 in Galax, VA. During the 2nd week of August of each year the City of Galax has the world tapping its feet as the Old Fiddlers’ Convention takes place in Felts Park. The convention is presented by the Galax Moose Lodge #733.
Musicians and fans from around the world travel to Galax to perform and hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Galax has been designated the Worlds Capital of Old time Mountain Music and is proud to be identified as hosting the world’s oldest and largest fiddler’s convention which has taken place consistently since 1935.
Learn more here: http://www.oldfiddlersconvention.com/
7) Fries Fiddler’s Convention: August 16 – 17, 2019
The 53rd Annual Fries Bluegrass and Fiddlers Convention will be held Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17, 2019. Admission is $10.00 for adults and children 12 and under are free with paying adult. Camping is $15 per spot.
Friday night’s competition will begin at 7:00 p.m. and include: Dulcimer, Old Time Fiddle, Dobro, Old Time Banjo, Mandolin, Autoharp, Flatfoot Dance, Bluegrass Bands, and Old Time Bands
Saturday’s Youth Competition will begin at 3:00 and include all adult categories.
Saturday’s Adult Competition will begin at 5:00 and include: Folk Songs (Vocals), Guitar, Bluegrass Fiddle, Bass Fiddle, Bluegrass Banjo, Flatfoot Dance, Bluegrass Bands, and Old Time Bands.
Flatfoot Dance, Bluegrass and Old Time Bands must compete both nights to be eligible for prizes. Bands typically play one song Friday night and two songs Saturday nights. You can learn more here: https://friesfire.com/fries-fiddlers-convention/