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Bluegrass Festivals and Venues in Asheville, NC
June 19, 2008
Category: Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain Vacation
by Lisa Sullivan
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music. It is considered by many to be a sub-genre of country music and has its roots in Irish, Scottish and English traditional music.
Bluegrass was inspired by the music of immigrants from the United Kingdom and Ireland (particularly the Scots-Irish immigrants and in Appalachia).
As in jazz, each instrument in bluegrass takes a turn playing the melody and improvising around it, while others revert to backing. Traditional bluegrass is typically based around acoustic stringed instruments such as acoustic guitar, banjo, fiddle, and upright bass, with or without vocals.
Asheville, NC is a great place to set up base camp while exploring various bluegrass venues and festivals that this Blue Ridge mountain area has to offer. Prior to planning your trip, you must first decide on an appropriate Asheville hotel.
Where to Enjoy Bluegrass Music Near Downtown Asheville
When it comes to Bluegrass music, the Asheville, NC area offers an array of places where people cannot only listen to music, but also participate. For example, Jack of the Wood, a downtown Asheville hot spot, is a Celtic-style pub where handcrafted English style ales are brewed at a nearby brewing facility and served fresh daily.
On a typical evening, you will find many patrons gathered around the black walnut bar or at long tavern tables, engaged in conversation about art, religion and politics while local musicians fiddle away. Thursday nights is the highly popular bluegrass jam; it starts around 10:00 p.m.; everyone is invited to bring their instrument, help make a little music, or simply listen.
The Fiddlin’ Pig, also located near downtown Asheville hotels, is a great venue to enjoy some barbecue while listening to bluegrass music. They feature local bluegrass musicians Monday through Saturday. Grammy-award winner Marc Pruett schedules the best and most entertaining bands the region has to offer. Music begins at 7:00 p.m. and reservations are accepted for groups of eight or more.
Downtown Asheville’s Summer Bluegrass Music Festival
The Shindig on the Green is also a wonderful Asheville, NC tradition. The dates are as follows: June 28, July 5, 12, 19; and Aug. 9, 16, 23, and 30. This mountain tradition features an eclectic variety of big circle mountain dancers, clog dancers, bluegrass and old-time string bands, ballad singers, and storytellers. Shindig on the Green gets underway about sundown (7:00 p.m.) and usually runs until about 10:00 p.m. It is centrally located to many Asheville hotels.
Visit Marshall, Just 40 Minutes From Asheville for Friday Night Blue Grass
For those who wish to venture into more rural areas to get a deeper sense of the local music scene, the traditional music at The Depot in Marshall, NC is a spot not to be missed. And, don’t be surprised if someone grabs your hand and invites you to dance. Every Friday the bluegrass jams start at 7:00pm and admission is free.
Blue Ridge Music Hosts Blue Grass Evenings on Mondays
Finally, every Monday from 6:30 ’til 8:30 p.m., Blue Ridge Music, an acoustic instrument store located in South Asheville, hosts an open jam. This jam is open to anyone who wants to come -- whether a hot picker from Tennessee or just a toe-tapper from around the bend. The Blue Ridge Music jam has produced several bands over the years and has been a place where people form long-lasting friendships with their fellow jammers.
When visiting Asheville, put some blue grass music on the itinerary. It’s a favorite way to experience Appalachian Mountain culture.