Announcing “A Show for Joe” – Sept. 2 Blue Ridge Music Center

Folklife Program

Mountain music legends come together for Joe Wilson Memorial Music Festival in Galax, VA

Charlottesville, VA – The Virginia Folklife Program at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) announces a Joe Wilson tribute concert featuring some of the biggest names in folk, bluegrass, and Americana—including the finest dobro player in contemporary acoustic music and the most highly decorated female musician of all time—on Friday, September 2 at the Blue Ridge Music Center, milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Galax, VA.

The one-day festival will include performances by Jerry Douglas, The Whites, and special guest Alison Krauss, as well as musical tributes from Wayne Henderson & Friends, The Jeff Little Trio, Linda & David Lay, Elizabeth LaPrelle, Phil Wiggins, The Barr Family & Tony Ellis, The Hurdle Brothers, and Frank Newsome.

The festival is presented by the Blue Ridge Parkway and Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in collaboration with the Virginia Folklife Program at VFH, with support from the National Folk Festival and National Council for the Traditional Arts. The show is sponsored by WNCW 88.7.

About Joe Wilson

In 2015, the music community lost visionary Joe Wilson. From his involvement in the creation of the Blue Ridge Music Center to his influential work with the National Council for the Traditional Arts, Wilson’s passion for the music of the Blue Ridge Mountains was immeasurable. He produced festivals, recordings, national and international tours, and helped create the “Roots of American Music” exhibit housed at the Music Center. A native of Tennessee, Wilson was instrumental in the development of The Blue Ridge Music Trails and The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trails. He was the author of A Guide to the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Wilson served as a mentor and guide to many musicians.

Virginia state folklorist and Virginia Folklife Program director Jon Lohman recalls Wilson’s impact on artists and the music world: “Joe Wilson was one of the most productive and influential cultural figures of his generation. His tireless work on behalf of artists and the community-based folk traditions they mastered transformed not only the lives of these artists but also countless communities and audiences he exposed to them,” Lohman said. “These artists include some who have gone on to gain global recognition. Joe famously brought a then-unknown teenage fiddler named Alison Krauss on an international tour of master fiddlers, and showcased the likes of Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, and Wayne Henderson early in their careers.” These artists and many others who formed relationships with Wilson will celebrate his life and legacy at the Blue Ridge Music Center, itself a place born of Wilson’s vision.

Festival Details

During the festival, the public is invited to attend a special preconcert tribute remembrance for Wilson led by Lohman from 1-4 PM at the indoor theater. Seating is limited and offered first come, first served. There will also be a “Jam for Joe” in conjunction with the Music Center’s regular Friday afternoon Bluegrass Jam from 12-4 PM. The ticketed concert begins at 4 PM. The exhibit “Banjos: From Africa to the New World” will be on display in the Luthier Shop. Food vendors will also be on site. Due to expected crowds, no dogs will be allowed at the event.

  • WHEN: Friday, September 2, 4-9 PM (with preconcert activities beginning at 12 PM, described above)
  • WHERE: Blue Ridge Music Center, 700 Foothills Road, Galax, VA, or Milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • TICKETS: $40, $20 for ages 12 and younger. General admission only. Available at BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org or (866) 308-2773, ext. 245.

About the Virginia Folklife Program

The Virginia Folklife Program, a public program of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, is dedicated to the documentation, presentation, and support of Virginia’s rich cultural heritage. For
more than twenty-five years, the program has documented the Commonwealth’s music and material traditions and shared those histories through hands-on workshops, performances, exhibitions, audio and video recordings, and apprenticeships across Virginia. For more information, visit VirginiaFolklife.org.

About VFH

The mission of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. VFH reaches an estimated annual audience of 23 million through Community Programs, Digital Initiatives, Scholarship, and the Virginia Center for the Book. For more information, visit VirginiaHumanities.org.

About the Blue Ridge Music Center

BRMCThe Blue Ridge Music Center, at milepost 213 near Galax, VA, celebrates the music and musicians of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The center includes an outdoor amphitheater and indoor interpretive center used to highlight an important strand of American musical culture, which still thrives in the region. Midday Mountain Music performances are offered free from noon to 4 p.m. daily. During the summer, its beautiful outdoor amphitheater at the foot of Fisher Peak comes alive through a vibrant and diverse concert series. Many of these concerts include activities for the whole family such as flatfoot dance lessons. The Music Center also offers scenic trails for the novice and seasoned hiker, educational programs, and the interactive Roots of American Music Museum. The visitor center and museum are open May through October and admission is free. The site is operated through a partnership between the National Park Service and Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. For more information, visit BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org.

About the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

Since 2013, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation has funded the concert programming at the Blue Ridge Music Center in keeping with the nonprofit’s mission to ensure cultural and
historical preservation, along with natural resource protection, educational outreach, and visitor enjoyment now and for future generations. For more information, visit brpfoundation.org.