If it has been a part of Southwest Virginia’s folklife traditions, then it will likely be on living display Saturday, at Ferrum College.
The college’s Blue Ridge Folklife Festival springs to life for the 46th time, easy to spot along Virginia 40. Just look for the farm machinery, working livestock and vintage cars. Beyond that, the sounds of old-time, blues, gospel and bluegrass music, and the smells of fresh-made pork barbecue, fried chicken and kettle corn will lead you deeper into the scene.
The college’s Blue Ridge Institute & Museum organizes the annual, rain-or-shine event. The institute boasts on its website of bringing together “musicians, moonshiners, craftspeople, cooks, motorheads, mule jumpers, horse pullers, coon dog racers, antique tractor buffs, and old-time gamers.” That’s no exaggeration.
Music on three stages includes old-time bands Gap Civil and New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters; bluegrass from Jerry Steinberg and the Dixie Bluegrass Boys and The Guard; Piedmont blues from Jeffrey Scott; and the gospel tunes of Mt. Olivet Apostolic Church Mass Choir, Joy Bells and Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven.