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The Gathering in the Gap Celebrates Rich Tradition of Bluegrass Music

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The gathering in the Gap Music FestivalThe Gathering in the Gap Music Festival takes place Saturday, May 26, of the Memorial Day Weekend. The Gathering celebrates the rich tradition of old-time and bluegrass music found in Southwest Virginia. Activities include competitions, workshops, jams, and performances by regionally and nationally know musicians. The day's events culminate in a main-stage concert by various professional performers.

Gathering in the Gap is located in the beautiful mountains of Southwest Virginia in the town of Big Stone Gap, Virginia. All events take place on and around the grounds of the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park.

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous superlatives will be headlining the event. Stuart started out singing gospel as a child, did the bluegrass stint with Lester Flatt in the '70s, performed six years with Johnny Cash in the '80s, and created his smash "hillbilly rock" hits of the '90s. In recent years, he launched a custom record label, Superlatone Records, to record overlooked Roots music. Stuart released three critically acclaimed collections on Superlatone, Souls' Chapel, Badlands and Live at the Ryman

Ron Short & The Possum Playboys, Dale Jett & Hello Stranger, and Dave Eggar & Deoro' will also be performing at this year's event.

Competition is open for lap dulcimer, banjo, fiddle, bluegrass guitar, bluegrass mandolin, bluegrass band and old-time band. All categories, except bands, will feature two age groups: 18 and over; 17 and under. Admission fee includes the competition fees.

The Gathering In The Gap Songwriting Contest represents the spirit and traditions of Appalachian culture. Its focus is to showcase outstanding, but under-recognized, performing songwriters. Both traditional and newer styles of songs are encouraged. Song topics may fall into one or more of these general areas:

  • songs relative to Americana and related topics
  • topical songs about historic or current events
  • songs should be in genres which have roots in Appalachian culture:
    • Old-time
    • Folk
    • Bluegrass
    • Country
    • Gospel
    • Blues
    • and Rockabilly

Songs entered must be the original work of the contestant and each contestant is limited to two entries.

For up-to-date information about the Gathering, please visit Festival of Trees: Mid-November through December 31. Over 80 trees are decorated by area civic organizations, businesses, schools and community members and are on display throughout the museum. In addition to festivals and programs, the museum also offers two new rotating exhibits each year. Outreach programs are also available.

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