Blue Ridge Parkway Music

Music in the Blue Ridge Mountains

From a time after the Revolutionary War when the settlers came to the Blue Ridge mountains to explore the frontier the sounds of the fiddle, banjo, string bands, and cloggers, can be heard everywhere from front porches to festival stages and town squares. Traditional mountain music includes lively tunes of old-time, bluegrass, ballad singing, blues, and sacred music.
There are many places to stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway such as festivals, concerts, jam sessions, workshops, and other activities to help you explore the Blue Ridge Mountains rich heritage of traditional mountain music.

Families and relatives continue to pass down the music from generation to generation, the tradition is also being fostered in after school efforts such as the Junior Appalachian Musicians program. Many mountain blue-grass bands have the whole family playing music or singing.

Explore the Blue Ridge Music Center in Virginia, the Orchard at Altapass, and many towns and businesses have weekly concert series for dancing and listening to original mountain music.

Bluegrass Music

Appalachian mountain music includes many instruments, styles and sounds, but bluegrass music is often honored and celebrated as a piece of Appalachian history in almost every part of this East coast mountain range. Bluegrass music, over the years, has truly become a style that has been influences by people and cultures from around the world. Whether it is played on a stage or a porch it is often played with intense fervor, passion and heart. Western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Mountains have been home to many bluegrass music legends.

Old Time Music

Old time music traditionally includes the Appalachian fiddle and banjo. It can also include a full string band playing along side the fiddle and banjo. Old time music was played during community celebrations and events in the early days of settlement in the Western North Carolina mountains. Old time music is rooted in the music of the Anglo-Irish fiddle, as well as the rhythms of shuffle bowing and the banjo, both of which come from African-American history. Old time music has also been influenced over the years by ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel and country music.

For more information please visit