The Crooked Road and the town of Abingdon are teaming up to sing the praises of Southwest Virginia’s musical heritage through the inaugural Crooked Road Music Festival, a three-day event featuring musical performances, workshops and competitions.
The festival, beginning tonight and continuing through Sunday morning in Abingdon, will highlight the old-time and bluegrass music that thrives in the region today, but also pay tribute to the roots of the those musical forms — from blues to Irish jigs to a cappella gospel music.
Some of the region’s best and brightest young performers — The Wright Kids, Adam McPeak & Mountain Thunder, and The Iron Mountain Ridgerunners — will kick things off today with a 7 p.m. concert at Latture Field.
Tickets to the Youth Music Showcase are $10, with children 8 and younger admitted free.
The festivities will continue Saturday at Latture Field with an evening full of music, traditional dance and song workshops, local foods, regional crafts and a tent devoted to the Abingdon Farmers Market’s Country Roads cook-off.
Music will be presented on two stages — a main stage and a workshop stage — from 3 to 10 p.m., Saturday, during which time audiences will hear performances and presentations that provide context for the music.
The workshop stage will feature the first-ever competition between the old-time and bluegrass band winners from Southwest Virginia’s eight fiddlers conventions as well as workshops in singing styles and Appalachian and Irish dance traditions. Music for the flatfoot dance will be provided by the old-time bands, and accompaniment for the Irish step dancing will be provided by Irish fiddler Séamus Connolly, the only person ever to have won the Irish National Fiddle Championship a record 10 times.
The headliner for the main stage is Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, two-time winners at the 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards ceremony. “A Far Cry From Lester and Earl” earned them Song of the Year, and their Rebel Records release “The Heart of a Song” earned them Album of the Year. Sisk and his group will take the stage at 8:30 p.m., Saturday.
The main stage lineup also includes Les Moore, the Whitetop Mountain Band, Séamus Connolly, the Good Shepherd Quartet and the winners of the bluegrass and old-time band competitions.
Tickets to Saturday’s events are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show; children 8 and under get in free.
Festivities will wind down Sunday with a Gospel Brunch featuring The Jackson Family beginning at 10 a.m. at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. Tickets are free but must be ordered online in advance to reserve a seat; cost of the meal is not included and must be purchased separately.
For more information on the performers, the full schedule or to purchase tickets, call the Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 435-3440 or visit abingdon-crooke droadmusicfest.com/ .