Beneath the billboards, down the road, down the driveway, behind the trees, there¹s a gathering of local folks playing music, telling stories, and dancing. This gathering place may be just about anywhere in the High Country, for there are many local gathering places. But how does a visitor find these places? Who do you ask? Would a visitor be welcome?
Finding these places may not be easy. Down the road, behind the trees, it may be a country store, a gas station, an old home place, a barn, or a cabin. And the place may change from time to time, from season to season.
It may also be hard finding the right person to ask. How does one find a face in the crowd, someone with deep roots in the community and someone with strong connections to local culture? And, if a person and place are found, would visitors be welcome?
Fortunately, even though community-gathering spots may be hard to find, local performers are found easily. And even though finding the right person to ask may be difficult, information about where locals perform is readily available. Andabout being welcome, at just about any place, mountain folks tend to be generous with their time and talent and visitors are appreciated.
Fortunately, too, local folks local purveyors of Appalachian culture are recognized and honored in the High Country.
In addition to their local community gathering places, they also gather at public places, at announced times, for all to appreciate.
Banner Elk, Beech Mtn Area
Crossnore Dr, Crossnore, 828-733-0360
Live jam sessions are held the 1st & 3rd Friday during the summer months at the Town Meeting House. Bring an instrument if you would like to join in! crossnorenc.com
The Orchard at Altapass
1025 Orchard Rd, Spruce Pine, 828-765-9531
Live bands perform Wed-Sun from May-Sept and weekends in Oct. altapassfoundation.org
Sunday Sunset Concert Series
501 Beech Mtn Pkwy, Beech Mtn, 828-387-4838
In the summer, local musicians serenade visitors at Fred’s Mercantile Gazebo. Be sure to bring a chair & blanket! Even in summer, evenings at this elevation can be quite cool. fredsgeneral.com
210 Park Ave, Banner Elk, 828-898-8395
Eclectic mix of musicians perform Thursday evenings: 6/21-8/30 at 6pm. Bring a chair or blanket. Food vendors on site.
Blowing Rock, Boone Area
Appalachian State Hayes School of Music
813 Rivers St, Boone, 828-262-3020
An array of faculty, student & guest performances. Grand opera to jazz to bluegrass showcased. Concerts generally last an hour and take place weeknights and Sunday afternoons. music.appstate.edu
Concerts in the Park
Memorial Park, Blowing Rock, 828-295-4636
Sunday afternoon concerts begin in May on Mother’s Day and go through October. Feature a wide array of music. Bring a chair and enjoy! blowingrock.com
Jones House Community Center
604 W King St, Boone, 828-264-1789
Free concerts every Friday, 5pm, June through Sept. Old-time jam sessions every Thursday at 7:30pm. Bring a chair or blanket.
Mast General Store
Valle Crucis, 828-963-6511
The Original Mast Store has music most every Sat & Sun. It begins around noon, sometimes earlier, and lasts until around 2pm. Musical genres featured include traditional, old-time, bluegrass, Celtic and Appalachian. mastgeneralstore.com
West Jefferson, Sparta Area
Backstreet Park Summer Concert Series
Backstreet, West Jefferson, 336-846-9550
Held the 3rd Friday of every month from May- August. Features local and regional artists playing a mix of traditional bluegrass, country and gospel music. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the evening.
Crouse House Pickers
60 Cherry St, Sparta, 800-372-5473
Jam session held every Monday at 6pm in the Crouse House, porch and stage. Bring an instrument if you would like to join in!
Music in the Park
60 Cherry St, Sparta, 800-372-5473
Held most Saturdays, June-Aug from 7-10pm. Bring a chair or blanket.