The Crooked Road seeking new director

The Crooked Road, also known as Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, is on the hunt for a new Executive Director. Since its founding in 2003, The Crooked Road has aggressively promoted the roots and folk music of southwestern Virginia as a tourist draw to the region, and has been so successful in that effort that a number of neighboring states have launched similar initiatives.

From the start, The Crooked Road was meant to bring tourist dollars into the small communities of the Appalachian (Blue Ridge) mountains, using bluegrass, old time, blues, and Gospel music as the attraction, as well as folk arts and crafts, and the traditional and contemporary cuisine endemic to the area. Municipal and county leaders have seen economic development follow the Road’s path, especially in places where jobs and opportunities have been in decline.

Outgoing director, Jack Hinshelwood, has presided over a period of tremendous growth for the organization since arriving in 2010, particularly with the tremendous success of The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming celebration, a 9-day event which features concerts, dinners, music festivals, arts demonstrations, lectures, dances, and more all along the Road – which runs nearly 300 miles through 19 counties, 4 cities, and 54 towns in the western half of the commonwealth.

“I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to help grow Virginia’s premier music brand,” said Hinshelwood. “As an organization, we have built our international presence supporting and publicizing the region’s incredible artists, venues and festivals.”

Both national and statewide businesses have been eager sponsors of the Crooked Road’s activities, and line up to have their names associated with this extremely popular endeavor.

Now Jack wants to return to his primary field of engineering, working with smaller communities with their water needs.

“I am looking forward to working again as an environmental engineer and to do so with the Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water in Abingdon. Like The Crooked Road, they are an important part of the economic development efforts in communities across Southwest Virginia. As I leave, I am as hopeful and excited as I have ever been for the future of The Crooked Road. It has been truly gratifying to witness first-hand how the region’s musical heritage can help improve the lives of people and of businesses both within and outside the region. I could not possibly express adequate thanks to an amazing staff and everyone who has assisted The Crooked Road in its efforts.  I wish a bright future for this remarkable organization and those who will continue its important work going forward.”

The Board of Directors of The Crooked Road are establishing their requirements now for a new Executive Director, and expect to publish a job listing by the end of September, with applications accepted and considered through October. The successful candidate will be expected to start early in 2020.

We join the Board and the staff in congratulating Jack on his accomplishments as director, and feel certain that they will find the right person to lead them going forward.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.