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Aug. 10, 2022, 2:15 p.m.

Music in the Mountains: Where to Listen in the Blue Ridge

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What do you hear when the mountains are calling? If it’s the Blue Ridge Mountains calling your name, you’re sure to notice the lively sounds of traditional Appalachian and bluegrass tunes, as well as blues, rock n’ roll, and beyond.

The musical traditions of the Southern Appalachian region are heavily influenced by generations of indigenous, Scotch-Irish, and African peoples. Instruments like fiddles, banjos and hammered dulcimers ring out, inviting you to tap your toes or make your way to the dance floor. More contemporary genres take the stage at local music clubs, festivals and breweries too.

Sounds of summer

Outdoor live music performances pack the calendar every summer, with several spots hosting regular series throughout the warmer months.


Musical Marion

Head to Marion’s charming Main Street to find live music throughout the year at Spillway Bridge & Co. the area’s premier music venue showcasing a variety of local and regional talent.

In late summer, Marion hosts the annual North Carolina State Bluegrass Festival at Tom Johnson’s Camping World. At the 57th annual festival (August 18-20, 2022), top acts include Rhonda Vincent and The Malpass Brothers, and the audience is invited to bring their own chairs. General admission tickets start at $42 for a one-day pass.

Many of the same acts will take the same stage one week earlier at The McDowell County Roundup Classic Country and Bluegrass Festival on August 12 & 13. Tickets start at $50 for a one-day pass.

Also on August 12 & 13, talented locals join together for The Carolina Summer Show, a revue of high-energy musical genres taking you from rock to pop to Broadway favorites, jazz, country, 50's and 60's hits, and treasured Gospel pieces. Tickets are $15 for kids (ages 3-12), $25 for adults (13+) and free for kids 2 and under.

Check out the events calendar for more musical events in the Blue Ridge.