Much of the music of Southwest Virginia is timeless. The sounds of old time, bluegrass, folk and more can be heard at venues all along what is known as The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. In 2024, The Crooked Road is marking 20 years of celebrating the diverse musical heritage that is woven into the tapestry of the region’s rich history and unique culture.
The Crooked Road’s story is told at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace (One Heartwood Circle, Abingdon, Virginia 24210) in Abingdon through exhibits, interactive displays and the Crooked Road jam, held the first Thursday of every month. But this is only the beginning. This is a regional destination that must be explored and experienced to be fully enjoyed. It covers 19 counties, four cities and more than 50 towns and communities where heritage music is celebrated year-round. This 330-mile driving trail through the mountains of Southwest Virginia connects 10 major venues and more than 40 affiliated venues and festivals for visitors to enjoy.
The trail’s major venues offer a variety of experiences and showcase many different aspects of the region’s music. The diversity spans from the recounting of historic performances at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum (101 Country Music Way, Bristol, Virginia 24201). An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum tells the tory of the 1927 Bristol Sessions, the influential recordings that sparked the “big bang of country music,” and continue to inspire the music of today. Experience special events featuring music royalty at the Carter Family Fold (3449 A P Carter Highway, Hiltons, Virginia 24258) and sharing of timeless local culture and fellowship at gatherings in the Floyd Country Store (206 S Locust Street, Floyd, Virginia 24091).
From live performances, square dances, historic sites, museum displays, instrument making and more, each adds a piece to this amazing cultural experience. Events for music lovers to enjoy include weekly jam sessions, concerts, fiddlers’ conventions, annual festivals, dances and educational workshops.
There are numerous 20th anniversary events being planned at major venues throughout 2024 to celebrate the trail. The concept began as Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2004 with the mission of supporting economic development in Southwest Virginia by promoting the region’s rich heritage of traditional music. Twenty years later, the passion for effort has grown as more and more visitors each year are introduced to the amazing music and traditions that live on throughout Southwest Virginia.
Where to stay
The variety of lodging options across Southwest Virginia is fitting for a region known for its distinctive character as well as its hospitality. There are unique lodges, bed and breakfasts, cottages and cabins. The settings range from riverside access to amazing mountaintop views. The range of options also includes downtown boutique hotels as well as remote rustic campsites. Whether traveling with friends or family, looking for pampering or adventure, this region has the perfect spot for every visitor to just the resting spot they seek.