A! Magazine for the Arts

The Market Square Jam in Blacksburg is a new Crooked Road Affiliated Venue

November 12, 2013

ABINGDON, VA - The Market Square Jam in Blacksburg, Va., received a banner acknowledging its recent inclusion as a Crooked Road Affiliated Venue. Affiliated Venues represent the best in traditional music gatherings that the region has to offer. As an Affiliated Venue, Blacksburg's Market Square Jam will be represented in Crooked Road publicity and promotional materials and recognized as a regional destination to Trail followers.

"The Market Square Jam is the newest chapter of a remarkable story of a community that has had a vibrant old time music and dance scene for at least 40 years," said Crooked Road executive director Jack Hinshelwood. "This is the community where my own love of old-time music was first formed. I am absolutely thrilled to be recognizing them for having kept such a rich tradition alive for so many years."

The Market Square Jam began in 2011, not long after the Town rebuilt their Farmers Market and created a welcoming gathering space called Market Square Park. Realizing it was blessed with a strong network of old time musicians that had been having jam sessions for years, the Town reached out to work with the artists to bring their music to the Market Square Park. Now every Wednesday from June to September, some of the best old-time music in the region echoes off the handsome timber trusses of the Farmers Market as people gather to listen, talk, perform, and move their feet to a music crafted over centuries for that very purpose.

"The Blacksburg Market Square Jam is a great example of how a community can work together to support its traditional music and benefit from having a vibrant activity to draw residents and visitors downtown. This is what makes communities feel like home," said Hinshelwood.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the positive reception of the Market Square Jam," said Community Relations Manager Heather Browning. "We've been fortunate to have the sponsorship support of the Blacksburg Partnership and the Blacksburg Museum & Cultural Foundation in this effort, as well as the enthusiasm, support, and great talents of our local musicians. Being designated as a Crooked Road Affiliated Venue solidifies our commitment to the celebration and promotion of Old Time music in Blacksburg and Montgomery County."

To ensure a vibrant jam each week, host duties are shared among old time music groups from the region. "The Market has nice acoustics for a jam, and there's plenty of space for dancers," said Ginger Wagner, banjoist for one of the host groups, the Indian Run String Band. "It's also a gathering where people just learning are encouraged to sit down with the accomplished musicians to help carry on the tradition."

The Crooked Road's mission is to support tourism and economic development in Southwest Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region's unique musical and cultural heritage. A complete listing of the Affiliated Venues and Festivals and the Major Venues of The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail can be found at www.thecrookedroad.org.

For additional information about The Crooked Road, call 276-492-2409 or send an e-mail to info@thecrookedroad.org.