Abingdon Crooked Road festival to feature Montgomery County performer
The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, in partnership with the Town of Abingdon, will hold the first-ever three-day music festival devoted to telling the story of Southwest Virginia’s traditional music, which reflects the diverse influences brought here by those who settled this mountainous region. The festival will highlight the Old Time and Bluegrass music that thrives here today but also present the roots of the musical forms that come from blues, Irish and a cappella gospel music of German tradition. The Abingdon Crooked Road Music Fest runs Oct. 5-7.
Jen Barton from Montgomery County will participate in the festival’s Dance Traditions Workshop at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. Barton is an accomplished performer in numerous dance styles and has been active as a teacher of traditional dance in class and workshop settings.
“Jen’s flatfoot style is very relaxed and freeflowing. It’s really a joy to watch,” says Jack Hinshelwood, executive director of The Crooked Road. “She has that ability common to talented artists of making something hard to do look easy.”
Barton will be joined in the workshop by Marsha Todd of Mt. Airy, N.C., who won the flatfoot contest at the 2012 Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, and champion Irish Step dancer Anna Cumbie of Winston-Salem.
“This workshop will allow the audience to appreciate the differences and similarities of these two great dance traditions,” says Hinshelwood. The workshops are funded in part by a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
The festival also includes a competition between the Old Time and Bluegrass band winners from the eight fiddlers conventions in Southwest Virginia, which has never been done before. The music for the flatfoot dance will be provided by the Old Time bands. Music for the Irish Step dancing will be provided by master Irish fiddler Seamus Connolly, the only person ever to have won the Irish National Fiddle Championship 10 times.
The festival will include music performances, competitions and workshops at Latture Field and at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. The festival begins at Latture Field in downtown Abingdon on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. with three of the region’s finest youth groups in concert. On Saturday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m. the event continues at Latture Field with a day full of music, traditional dance and song workshops, great local food, regional crafts and a tent devoted to the Abingdon Farmers Market Country Roads cookoff. The music will be presented on two stages, a performance stage and the workshop stage. Some of the artists scheduled to perform include the Whitetop Mountain Band, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, who is nominated for the 2012 International Bluegrass Music Associations Album and Song of the Year. On Sunday, Oct. 7, the final event of the festival will take place at Heartwood with their weekly Sunday Gospel Brunch beginning at 10 a.m. and featuring the Jackson Family Bluegrass Gospel band.
For more information, visit www.abingdon-crookedroadmusicfest.com/ or call the Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-435-3440.
– Submitted by Jonathan Romeo
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