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Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway has scheduled concerts throughout the summer, but the shows can go on only if people step up to help.
The Roanoke Times | File 2012
The Roanoke Mountain Campground will not open at all because of the sequester, but plans are in the works to continue the Sunday evening concerts through the fall, a news release said.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The music will play on at Roanoke Mountain Campground this summer, but only if enough volunteers can be found to help with the shows.
The bluegrass and mountain music concerts have been a Sunday-night tradition at the campground, where string bands from around the region play on a tiny covered stage before a crowd of music lovers seated in chairs they brought themselves.
However, the series faced an uncertain future when the National Park Service decided not to re-open the campground this year due to federal budget cuts caused by the sequester.
Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a Roanoke-based nonprofit group that supports the parkway, was able to schedule concerts beginning May 26 through Sept. 1. The group is recruiting volunteers to work on concert nights.
At least two people will be needed at each concert, said Lorrie Knies, a park ranger and the acting interpreter for the parkway’s Plateau District. Because no ranger will be on duty at the closed campground, the volunteers will be responsible for telling visitors that the campground gates will be locked immediately following the show.
“We just need a couple of people to act as greeters and welcome people and let them know we are just open for the music program,” Knies said. “Hopefully, we will get several couples and they won’t have to work every weekend.”
The season opens at 7 p.m. May 26 with a performance by the Happy Mountain Boys. The series, which in past years continued into early October, will end about a month earlier than usual.
People interested in volunteering for the concerts can contact Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway volunteers and programs director Fernando Gracia at 772-2992 or at email@example.com.
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