The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (TCR) has been working for over two years with federal officials on a proposal to designate The Crooked Road region of Southwest Virginia (19 counties, four cities and over 50 towns) as a National Heritage Area.
As explained in the Public Meeting Handout (copied below), a National Heritage Area (NHA) is defined as a place “where natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography.” National Heritage Areas are based on collaboration and partnerships to include local governments, business, residents, tourism entities, and non-profit organizations working together to support economic development and community revitalization.
To date, TCR has completed a feasibility study that has been reviewed by the National Park Service’s National Heritage Area staff. The next step in the process is for TCR to hold public meetings to solicit public input on the proposed designation. We are planning to hold 12 public meetings at localities throughout Southwest Virginia. The public meetings scheduled so far are indicated in the table below. Updates to the public meeting schedule will be posted as they become available. Ultimately, creation of a Crooked Road National Heritage Area will require a vote in the US Congress which may be several years away.
The Crooked Road believes this designation will be of great benefit to Southwest Virginia and will represent acknowledgement of the truly national impact this region’s musical heritage has had on America’s music. More information on The Crooked Road is provided in the attached FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) or on our website at www.thecrookedroad.org.
For more information, call The Crooked Road at (276) 492-2402 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE CROOKED ROAD NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA DESIGNATION
WHAT IS A NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA?
A National Heritage Area (NHA) is defined as a place “where natural, cultural, historic and scenic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by geography.” National Heritage Areas are based on collaboration and partnerships to include local governments, business, residents, tourism entities, and non-profit organizations working together to support economic development and community revitalization.
The National Park Service (NPS) is the “advisor” for the designation process and provides technical and planning assistance. However, decision-making authority and management rest in the hands of local people and organizations. There is no application form for National Heritage Areas. After completion of steps in process, a place must be designated as a NHA by the U.S. Congress.
WHY IS THE CROOKED ROAD REGION PROPOSED AS A NHA?
The musical traditions of Southwest Virginia have had an indelible impact on American music. That musical heritage reflects the mix of cultures brought to the region by settlers of European and African ancestry, and shaped over hundreds of years by life in the Appalachian mountains. Some of the greatest names in American music are from the region including the Carter Family, Jim and Jesse, the Stonemans and Ralph Stanley. Just as important is the manner in which the musical traditions are interwoven into the everyday fabric of life for the region’s residents. The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (TCR) helps the people and communities of Southwest Virginia promote and celebrate their unique musical heritage.
TCR has had a significant economic impact upon Southwest Virginia and has received major national and international recognition. TCR works with local governments in 19 counties (and associated towns) and four cities, tourism organizations, musicians, music venues (9 major venues and over 50 affiliated venues and festivals) in the region to generate community development based upon the music and cultural heritage of Southwest Virginia.
BENEFITS OF NHA STATUS:
- National recognition (there are currently 49 NHAs)
- Funding assistance (matching) - does NOT require additional appropriation of any federal $$
- Recognition for private foundation funding sources (based on federal designation)
- Continuation of economic impact and development through cultural heritage tourism
STEPS COMPLETED TO DATE:
- Approval by TCR board (60 members from 19 counties and 4 cities) to pursue NHA status
- Meetings and communication with NPS staff
- Draft of feasibility study completed and submitted to NPS
- Commitment of support for designation from Congressman Griffith and Senator Warner
WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?:
- Hold public community meetings in region
- Complete feasibility study
- National Park Service comments on study
- Submit congressional designation
- Congress votes on the proposed designation
The Crooked Road Frequently Asked Questions
- What is The Crooked Road?
- The Crooked Road is a 333 mile driving route through the scenic mountains of Southwest Virginia, The Crooked Road connects major heritage music venues and a thriving network of traditional music jams, festivals, and concerts in gracious communities all along the way. End to end, The Crooked Road connects the Town of Rocky Mount in Franklin County to the Breaks Interstate Park in Dickenson County.
- What are the Wayside Exhibits?
- As you travel The Crooked Road, stop at the 26 radio-transmitting wayside exhibits to learn about the music heritage of the many communities along the route.
- What are the Major Venues of The Crooked Road?
- The Crooked Road’s Major Venues showcase the finest in traditional music and present a unique experience based on their important place in American music. The Major Venues from west to east include:
- Ralph Stanley Museum & Traditional Mountain Music Center, Clintwood
- Country Cabin II, Norton
- Carter Family Fold, Hiltons
- Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, Bristol
- Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway, Abingdon
- Blue Ridge Music Center, Grayson and Carroll Counties
- Rex Theater and Old Fiddlers Convention, Galax
- Floyd Country Store and County Sales, Floyd
- Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, Ferrum
- What are the Affiliated Venues & Festivals?
- Venues and festivals that consistently present high quality traditional music of the region in a family-friendly atmosphere can apply to become Affiliates of The Crooked Road. Affiliates are included in The Crooked Road publications and website. Visitors looking to experience traditional music as it has been played for generations have ample opportunities seven days a week at the more than 50 jam sessions, concerts and festivals that make up The Crooked Road Affiliated Venues & Festivals.
- What makes the music of The Crooked Road unique?
- Along The Crooked Road you will find roots of American music that run deep and wide. The music of The Crooked Road in its many forms - old time fiddle and banjo, a cappella gospel and ballad singing, and bluegrass to name a few - is a music born of the mountains where the European fiddle and African banjo were blended together in harmony by settlers from those lands over many generations. The region’s settlers added their wealth of religious music into the mix as well. Visitors to The Crooked Road experience an authentic music that has been shaped by some of the greatest names in American music — the Carter Family, the Stonemans, and Ralph Stanley. The music of The Crooked Road has had and continues to have an indelible impact on American music.
- What is the Traditional Music Education Program?
- The Crooked Road works with many individuals and organizations in Southwest Virginia to create traditional music education opportunities in K-12 grades and community colleges in the region, including in-school and after-school programs. What is The Crooked Road organization? The Crooked Road is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that supports economic development in Southwest Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region’s unique musical and cultural heritage.