Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina
Every weekend the North Carolina mountains and foothills come to life with the passionate strains of bluegrass, old-time fiddles, and dancing feet. Visitors can sample the richness of these music traditions through the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina. A new guidebook to the trails is an excellent resource for visitors who want to hear the music in an authentic setting and learn more about the music traditions.
In the guidebook, noted folklorist Fred C. Fussell puts readers on the trail to discover the many sites in western North Carolina where this unique musical legacy thrives. Organized by region and county, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina welcomes readers into the rich worlds of bluegrass, old-time, gospel, and string band music, as well as clogging, flatfooting, and other forms of traditional dance.
The Blue Ridge Music Trails is organized into six regions, each reflecting the traditions of the small towns, communities and counties of the region. Below are maps of the six regions and the counties and towns that include.
- Region 1, Sprout Wings and Fly - Includes Surry, Stokes, Rockingham, Iredell, and Yadkin Counties.
- Region 2, Feed Me on Cornbread and Beans - Caldwell, Wilkes, Alleghany, Ashe, and Watauga Counties.
- Region 3, It Strikes With Terror in My Heart - Mitchell, Avery, McDowell and Yancey Counties.
- Region 4, Asheville Junction - Buncombe, Madison, Henderson, and Transylvania Counties
- Region 5, Flint Hill Special - Cleveland, Burke, Rutherford, and Polk Counties.
- Region 6, Walking the King's Highway - Haywood, Swain, Graham, Cherokee, Clay, Macon, and Jackson Counties.
Festivals, Jamborees and Jam Sessions
Outdoor festivals are a great way to sample a variety of talent and styles while enjoying local food and sunshine. Seasoned performers also take the stage at jamborees, clubs, and concert halls.
Local bluegrass and old time music jam sessions, which may be held anywhere from pubs and cafes to the general store or public square, provide a great opportunity to hear local talent and experience local music culture. Many jam sessions welcome visitors, so bring an instrument if you play.
Dates and times for many of these festivals, jam sessions, and other musical events can be found on our Festival and Events pages.
Learn to Play Traditional Mountain Music
There are opportunities for enthusiasts at all skill levels to learn how to play, sing, and dance to the music. Several colleges and arts institutions offer week-long and/or weekend workshops where visiting students learn from master musicians:
- John C. Campbell Folk School
- Mars Hill College - Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week
- Warren Wilson College - Swannanoa Gathering
Appalachian Mountain Music on the Radio
Tune in to traditional old time music in the mountains on local radio. A variety of stations feature traditional Appalachian mountain music during the week:
The King Pup Radio Show
Pre-recorded programs may be listened to on the website. Programs are also broadcast during the week by affiliate radio stations in North Carolina and other states.
WKBC - 800 AM , North Wilkesboro, NC
WKSK - 580 AM, West Jefferson, NC
WNCW Public Radio - 88.7 FM in Asheville, NC and 92.9 FM in Boone, NC
WPAQ - 740 AM, Mount Airy, NC
WCQS Public Radio - 88.1 FM , Asheville, NC
WWMY - 106.1 FM , Jefferson, NC