With the help of the National Park Service, donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Blue Ridge Music Center experienced another fantastic season in 2015. More than 35,000 patrons visited the Blue Ridge Music Center to explore the Roots of American Music exhibit, listen to Midday Mountain Music, and plan their Parkway journey at the Visitor Center during the May through October season.
Total concert attendance was 6,130, an increase of 10 percent from the 2014 concert season. The Music Center presented 18 major concerts, including performances by National Folk Heritage Award winners Wayne Henderson and Sherman Holmes (Sherman Holmes Project with Phil Wiggins); Grammy Award winners The Steep Canyon Rangers, Marty Raybon, and Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer; renowned folklorists/musicians Paul Brown and Alice Gerrard; and up-and-coming roots artists, including Della Mae, The Steel Wheels, The Barefoot Movement, The Lee Boys, Redhead Express, and The Buck Stops Here.
Over the summer, the Music Center also welcomed the touring exhibit Banjos: From Africa to the New World, which traces the development of the instrument from its continent of origin to the Americas. The exhibit showcased 24 historical replica and reproduction banjos crafted by hand. Approximately 2,900 patrons visited the exhibit from June 18 to July 14.
The venue also hosted:
- two free Community Days: Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) & Family Day on May 23 & the Midday Mountain Music Showcase on September 12
- Memorial Celebration for Music Center and Blue Ridge mountain music proponent Joe Wilson on June 25
- a Centennial Kick-off Celebration in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in August
- 41 Midday Mountain Musicians, who volunteered more than 2,500 hours to entertain and inform Music Center patrons about the history and heritage of mountain music
This year, the Music Center published its first season program guide for concertgoers and Parkway visitors. Look for the 2016 concert guide in April.