Blue Ridge Music Center Blue Ridge Parkway VA

Blue Ridge Music Center Milepost 213 Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213 off the Blue Ridge Parkway calls you closer with the sounds of the fiddle, banjo, and guitar performing on stage. Experience the region’s musical traditions through live performances. Past performances include Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley. The Blue Ridge Music Center features local, regional, and national touring performers and bands, and are presented most Saturday evenings from late May through September. The Blue Ridge Music Center hosts a summer Roots of American Music Concert Series which takes place in our beautiful outdoor amphitheater with a capacity of 2,500 people and is located at the base of Fisher Peak. Experience regional traditional music each day of the week with FREE local Mid-Day Mountain Musicians playing on the breezeway of the visitors center from Noon – 4 PM. From June through October when you leave your car you’ll likely hear the ring of the banjo and the song of the fiddle wafting on the air from the breezeway that separates the visitors center from the indoor auditorium. Well-known local musicians volunteer their time to share the music they love with visitors, inviting those who can pick a tune to join them as well. Listeners relax in rocking chairs and enjoy both the music and the scenic view of Fisher Peak.

The Blue Ridge Music Center is also the home to the state-of-the-art- award-winning, and interactive Roots of American Music Museum Exhibit. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any other. It is the heart of many of America’s living music traditions.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1997, with support from The National Council for the Traditional Arts, The Music Center includes an outdoor amphitheater, an indoor interpretive center/theater, and The Roots of American Music, a FREE interactive, and entertaining, exhibition highlighting the historical significance of the region’s music. Trace the history of Blue Ridge Mountain Music through local artists back to the creation of the music generations ago by persons from Europe and West Africa, and shows its’ continued influence on many forms of folk, rock, and popular music made across America today.

The Blue Ridge Music Center was built through the efforts of three organizations: the City of Galax, VA, which donated 1,000 acres of land on Fisher Peak near the Parkway – land originally purchased to protect the city’s watershed, the Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service, US Department of Interior), which owns the facility and maintains it, and the National Council for the Traditional Arts, (NCTA) a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional music.

Phone: 276-236-5309


Surrounding the Blue Ridge Music Center one finds many variations of the ancient fiddle and banjo music of Virginia and North Carolina. This music can be traced to the meeting of the African banjo and the European fiddle in the Tidewater before our nation was created. Here also are found older ballads and religious music that reach deeply into the American past.

At the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Roots of American Music exhibit tells the compelling story of the region’s rich music heritage and serves as an insightful complement to the Midday Mountain Music performances and Summer Concert Series. Visitors can listen to and enjoy music while learning about the development and national significance of this part of Blue Ridge Mountain cultural heritage.

Children (and adults too) can mix and match song lyrics, mix their own versions of mountain music, and hear personal stories of how music has influenced generations of Blue Ridge families. Visitors will see examples of the many stages of the evolution of the five string banjo since its arrival in America with enslaved Africans. They will also see the relatively few changes made in the fiddle, brought with Europeans who migrated here. The blending of these two instruments was the beginning of virtually all forms of American music and was the ensemble that came to frontier Appalachia. There are also oral history audio programs of those who collected the music of the mountains in the past. How the recording industry and radio popularized and changed mountain music is also part of the story.

The Roots of American Music exhibition helps each visitor better understand and appreciate the complexity and richness of this part of our regional culture.

The exhibition is open during regular business hours and later on concert nights.

Hiking Trails

  • High Meadow Trail 1.35 miles—one-way—easy
  • Fisher Peak Loop 2.24 miles—loop—moderate

Hours of Operation

From May 6 through May 24 the Music Center will be open Thursday through Monday. 10 am – 5 pm.

From May 25 through October 29 the Music Center will be open daily from 10am – 5pm.

The Roots of American Music Museum Exhibit and Mid-Day Mountain Music are FREE and open to the public.

The Blue Ridge Music Center
700 Foothills Rd
Galax, VA 24333
Milepost 213 on
The Blue Ridge Parkway

Music Center Info Call:
(276) 236-5309
Concert Info Call:

(866) 308-2773 x 213
To Purchase Concert Tickets
by phone (866)308-2773 x 212