25th Anniversary Graves Mountain Festival of Music this weekend

Graves Mountain has been the site of a mountain resort since 1964, but the history of the Graves family’s association with the location goes back to the early 1600s. In 1857, the family moved to where the farm is currently located, and this beautiful location has been home to the Graves family for four generations.

In 1993, they had the first Graves Mountain Festival of Music, a two-day event, and in the intervening years the event has become one of the most popular venues for classic, traditional bluegrass music, as well offering a diversified line-up of talent featuring the best in Americana and Roots music.  

In 2012 USA Today listed Graves Mountain among its 10 great places to go to bluegrass festivals.

This weekend marks the 25th Graves Mountain Festival of Music. The event features tribute to banjo star Don Reno by his sons, Ronnie Reno, Dale Reno, Don Wayne Reno, and musical friends, featuring the Ronnie Reno Band and Reno Reunion; and the reunion of contemporary bluegrass group, The Virginia Squires, facilitated by the appearance of the Lonesome River Band (with banjo ace Sammy Shelor), the Seldom Scene (furnishing Ronnie and Rickie Simpkins).

Other bands on the festival itinerary include Terry Baucom & Duke of Drive, Sideline, Mountain Heart, Charm City Junction, Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, Grammy award-winning group the SteelDrivers, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, and Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys.

The reunion of The Virginia Squires is much anticipated, not least by Mark Newton, who spoke to Bluegrass Today about the occasion last September.

Closing the show will be the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-bred country band Shenandoah, now marking its 30th year. They are led by lead singer and Rural Rhythm recording artist Marty Raybon, described as “one of the best soul singers in music.” Raybon has had a regular presence on the bluegrass festival circuit in recent years as front man to Marty Raybon and Full Circle.

The Graves Mountain Festival of Music takes place at the Graves’ Mountain Lodge, on Rt. 670, Syria, Virginia 22743.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.