Virginia Mountain Music Guide

Frequently Asked QuestionsContempory musicians

What Is the Virginia Mountain Music Guide?

The Virginia Mountain Music Guide steers fans of traditional music to public musical gatherings in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia.  The purpose of the Guide is to promote an appreciation for the region’s musical heritage.

What Is Traditional Music?

Traditional music is sometimes called “roots music” or “folk music.”  Generally speaking, it is the music that is passed down over time on a personal, informal level between local people.  At public gatherings in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, the traditional styles most often performed are bluegrass, old-time dance tunes on the fiddle and banjo, and gospel singing.  However, the region’s musical heritage actually covers a broader range—everything from blues and ballads to children’s songs and work songs. 

Dukes magic City TrioWhat Types of Events Are in the Guide?

The venues in the Virginia Mountain Music Guide all present to a significant degree local musicians who have grown up in the region and who play in the traditional styles of their communities.  All of the listed events are ongoing and are open to the public.  Most are free.  The majority are concerts or festivals, but some are music jams or dances in which anyone can participate. 

What Areas of Virginia Are Included in the Guide?

The Guide covers the non-Blue Ridge counties in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia:  Alleghany, Bath, Bland, Buchanan, Craig, Dickenson, Giles, Lee, Montgomery, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe.  (The counties along the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor are featured on the Blue Ridge Music Trails website, www.blueridgemusic.org.  Together the Virginia Mountain Music Guide and the Blue Ridge Music Trail website cover all of Southwest Virginia.)

Who Maintains the Guide?

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College, the official State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, created and maintains the Virginia Mountain Music Guide. 

DancingHow Accurate Is the Guide?

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum updates the information in the Guide annually.  Though the information is correct at the time it is collected, we cannot guarantee its accuracy over time.  Music events—especially the smaller jams—sometimes move, change hours, or disappear without notice.  BEFORE YOU VISIT AN EVENT, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU CHECK WITH THE CONTACT PERSON LISTED FOR THAT EVENT.    

How Do Events Get Listed in the Guide?

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum determines which sites are included in the Guide.  Authenticity of the music and performers is primary.  The Institute’s folklorists visit and/or research each event to ensure that a significant element of local traditional music is represented.

If you find a discrepancy in a venue listing or would like to suggest a venue for inclusion in the Guide, please contact the Institute at bri@ferrum.edu.

Who Funds the Virginia Mountain Music Guide?

The Guide is a free educational program of the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College.  Neither the music venues nor the Guide’s online users pay any fees for listings.  The Guide was created by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

If you would like to support the programs of the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, please contact us at bri@ferrum.edu.

Kate SturgillWhat Is the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum?

Adding to Ferrum College’s distinctive educational environment, the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum was established in the early 1970s to document, interpret, and present the folkways of the Blue Ridge.  While keeping its emphasis on western Virginia traditions, the Institute does programming and fieldwork across the state.  Major Institute programs include:

Designated the State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, the Institute is a major venue on the
Crooked Road Music Trail.
Produced by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College with support funding from the
National Endowment for the Arts.  © 2008