Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina
The North Carolina mountains and foothills abound with the music that was born and bred in these mountains--lively strains of bluegrass, old-time, gospel and blues music, and the sound of dancing feet in venues large and small, indoors and outdoors, at festivals, music halls, and parks. Here's where to find this great music:
- Visit BlueRidgeMusicNC.com, the music trails website that's loaded with places and events where you can enjoy this music.
- Download this map brochure for a hard copy map of more than 60 sites along the Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC.
- Watch some great videos featuring unique, quirky and fun music venues along the Back Roads to the Blue Ridge Music Trails of NC. Try our recommended itineraries for other places nearby to enhance your experience.
- More videos: Go Road Trippin' with WLOS Channel 13 and “cruise” to 14 towns and attractions that feature the traditional music of the region.
- Get the guidebook, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, an excellent resource for visitors who want to hear the music in an authentic setting and learn more about the music traditions.
About the Guidebook
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 - Includes Surry, Stokes, Rockingham, Iredell, and Yadkin Counties.
- Region 2 - Caldwell, Wilkes, Alleghany, Ashe, and Watauga Counties.
- Region 3 - Mitchell, Avery, McDowell and Yancey Counties.
- Region 4 - Buncombe, Madison, Henderson, and Transylvania Counties
- Region 5 - Cleveland, Burke, Rutherford, and Polk Counties.
- Region 6 - Haywood, Swain, Graham, Cherokee, Clay, Macon, and Jackson Counties.
- BRMT Overview
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 the events calendar of the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina website.
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 or seasonal classes where students learn from master musicians:
- Haywood Communtiy College - Creative Arts Continuing Education Classes
- 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