The artistic and musical heritage of Appalachia takes center stage during the Crooked Road Festival, a series of events stretching throughout Montgomery County on Wednesday, March 19, through Sunday, March 23. The festival features performances, instrument-making demonstrations, art exhibitions, storytelling, clogging workshops, and more.

The festival is presented by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, and Montgomery County Regional Tourism Office. Funding is provided by Virginia Tourism Corporation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For generations, Appalachian communities have produced an abundance of extraordinary traditional musicians. They carry with them a historic musical legacy from colonial times, creating and sharing old-time, bluegrass, and mountain gospel sounds that have influenced the development of American music.

The Crooked Road Festival brings together local groups and organizations who have crafted a spirited lineup of events to showcase these traditions. 

Crooked Road Festival schedule

Wednesday, March 19

  • Virginia Heritage Music Instrument Exhibit; Student Art Exhibition: Music of the Crooked Road; and Instrument-Making Demonstration with John Hollandsworth
    • 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
    • Montgomery Museum & Lewis Miller Art Center, 300 Pepper St., Christiansburg, Va.
    • Free
  • Open House with Old Time Music and Square Dance, featuring Katie and the Bubbatones, fiddler Kathleen O'Connell, and caller Liam Kelley. Additional band members include John Hollandsworth, Russ Boyd, Eddie Ogle, and Sam Linkous.
    • 6 p.m., open house; 6:30 p.m., presentation; 7 p.m., music
    • Prices Fork Elementary School Cafetorium, 4021 Prices Fork Rd., Blacksburg, Va.
    • Free

Thursday, March 20

  • Instrument-Making Demonstration with Olen Gardner, John Hollandsworth, and Mac Traynham; The Virginia Luthiers: Instrument Display
    • 6:30-7:45 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Free
  • Performances by Mountain Fling; Mac and Jenny Traynham; and Wayne Henderson and the Virginia Luthiers
    • 8-10 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Live music performance
    • Tickets required; event is sold out.
  • The New Town Connection Exhibit
    • Noon-5 p.m.
    • St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall, 203 Gilbert St., Blacksburg, Va.
    • The New Town Connection exhibit tells the story of African-American Appalachian music through the stories, images, video, and music of New Town at St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall.
    • Free

Friday, March 21

  • Instrument-Making Demonstration with Olen Gardner
    • 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
    • Montgomery Museum & Lewis Miller Art Center, 300 Pepper St., Christiansburg, Va.
    • Free
  • The New Town Connection Exhibit
    • Noon-5 p.m.
    • St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall, 203 Gilbert St., Blacksburg, Va.
    • The New Town Connection exhibit tells the story of African-American Appalachian music through the stories, images, video, and music of New Town at St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall.
    • Free
  • Presentation by Pete Reiniger, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
    • 6:45-7:30 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Pete Reiniger will give a presentation on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and the production of “Long Time...Seldom Scene,” including the story of the Smithsonian’s acquisition of the Folkways Record label and the growth of its catalog through the acquisition of other labels and newly generated releases since 1988.
    • Free
  • Performances by No Strings Attached and The Seldom Scene
    • 8-10 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Live music performance
    • Tickets required; event is sold out.

Saturday, March 22

  • The New Town Connection Exhibit
    • Noon-4 p.m.
    • St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall, 203 Gilbert St., Blacksburg, Va.
    • The New Town Connection exhibit tells the story of African-American Appalachian music through the stories, images, video, and music of New Town at St. Luke and Odd Fellows Hall.
    • Free
  • Performances by the Eastern Montgomery County Gospel Music Program with Nancy Smith and Friends and the Eastern Montgomery County Community Choir
    • 1-3 p.m.
    • Shawsville Middle School, 4179 Old Town Road, Shawsville, Va.
    • Free
  • Oral History of St. Paul's African Methodist Episcopal Church by Jacquelyn Eaves; Performances by St. Paul’s Choir, Alexis Johnson, Michael Herndon and Lynette Wilcox, Enlightened Gospel Choir, and Ada Sherman
    • 2-3 p.m.
    • St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church, 102 Penn Street, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Free
  • Clogging Workshop with Phil Louer and Jen Barton; Square Dance with Giles Mountain String Band and callers Ginger Wagner and Phil Louer
    • 2-5 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • No experience is necessary and instruction is provided.
    • Free
  • An Evening of Beans and Banjos
    • 6-8 p.m.
    • Meadowbrook Center, 267 Alleghany Spring Road, Shawsville, Va.
    • Hosted by the Shawsville Ruritan Club, the evening includes a dinner of beans, cornbread, and dessert with entertainment by Fort Vause, featuring banjoist George Smith. The event raises money for the Shawsville Ruritan Club and the club's scholarship fund for graduates of Eastern Montgomery High School.
    • Free (donations welcome)
  • Traditional Music Concert featuring Olen Gardner and Friends, The Blackberries, The Gravel Road, and Mike Mitchell
    • 6-8 p.m.
    • Main Street Baptist Church, 100 W. Main St., Christiansburg, Va.
    • Free
  • Crankies Performance
    • 7-7:30 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Old time balladeers Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle perform original crankies — scrolling illustrations made out of cloth or paper that depict a story that is sung or spoken. The crankies were collaboratively designed and built with students from Prices Fork and Harding Avenue Elementary Schools.
    • Free
  • Performances by Indian Run String Band, Hoorah Cloggers, and The Rickie Simpkins Quartet
    • 8-10 p.m.
    • Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, Va.
    • Tickets required; event is sold out.

Sunday, March 23

  • Square Dance with the Indian Run String Band and caller Phil Louer
    • 4-7 p.m.
    • Homestead Farm, Riner, Va.
    • Free

The following sponsors have supported many of the Crooked Road events: Cedar Creek Custom Case Shoppe; Downtown Blacksburg Inc.; Tom and Lisa Hammett; Bill and Susan Marmagas; New River Resource Authority; Anita Puckett, director, Virginia Tech’s Appalachian Studies Program; Smithsonian Folkways Recordings; Greg Tilley, chiropractor.

Parking is available for the Moss Arts Center events in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Event parking for visitors is $5. Event passes may be purchased in advance through the Center for the Arts box office or when entering the garage on event evenings. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

 

 

Related Links

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