Appalachian Music At Folklife

by Joseph Pride

Most people came to the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival this weekend for the food and some of them stayed for the coon dog racing, but one of the less appreciated attractions was the music. People found themselves at one of the three various music stages, where different bands performed all day. The Bowl stage, the Chapel stage, and the Farm stage stayed crowded from10 in the morning until 6 in the evening, constantly showcasing different genres of music from gospel to blues. The highlights of the musical side of the festival were the three workshops that took place in the middle of the day: these were the “The Legendary Gospel Singing of Master L. V. Jones:  His Songs and Influence,” “Traditional Guitar Styles of the Virginia Piedmont and Blue Ridge,” and “Keeping It in the Family: Family Musical Traditions.”

The first workshop of the day was Traditional Guitar Styles of the Virginia Piedmont and Blue Ridge which featured Scott Fore, Wayne Henderson, Darren Moore, Doug Rorrer, Jeffrey Scott, and Taylor Rorrer. The group took to the Farm stage at 10:30. The National Flatpicking Champion Scott Fore and co. came together for an hour and a half of great guitar playing.

The next workshop was at 12:30 on the Chapel stage.  It featured L.V. Jones, who was accentuated by Jerry Moose and Gregg Kimbrall. The group of gospel singers played for an hour, and were very excited to see the turnout. “We think it’s great to see this many people at the Festival, and especially at our show. We hope that they could all get something out of our music,” said Moose. The show was very inspiring and spiritual for the Christian listeners that attended.

The last workshop took place on the Farm stage from 2:30 to 3:30. The Sheets Family Band and the Slate Mountain Ramblers had attendees of all ages flat footin’ on an improved dance floor underneath the tent. Their old time music was the liveliest of the workshops which made sense considering the time when it took place. “We thought it was great fun to take to the stage with the Slate Mountain Ramblers,” said Kelly Sheets, “we were very excited about how the show went and hope to collaborate again.”

Overall, the music at the Folklife Festival became the place to go when you had done everything else. The sounds of the Folklife Festival became the staple of the day, always there for you when you had felt like you had eaten one too many funnel cakes or watched one too many dogs swim across Adam’s Lake.


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