Friday, August 07, 2015

The Crooked Road links rural music communities in Virginia, generated $13M in 2008

The Crooked Road, a driving trail that runs 333 miles from the Blue Ridge to the Cumberland Mountains, connects music venues in Southwest Virginia and keeps the music alive, as well as providing a needed ecopnomic boost, Desire Moses reports for NPR. map of The Crooked Road. The orange line represents The Road.
Appalachian Virginia's poverty rate was three percent higher than the national average in 2013. The region relied on lumber and coal, said Stewart Scales, an Appalachian Geography teacher at Virginia Tech. "With the companies leaving the mines, they're also leaving the area in general, so that's leaving people without jobs," Scales said. "The big question is, what happens next?"

Woody Crenshaw, who used to own one of the main stops along The Crooked Road, said, "We really saw that the music was this huge, untapped and unappreciated asset." The music is called "old-time," "early country" or bluegrass.

Musicologist Joe Wilson and Todd Christensen of the Virginia Department of Housing came up with the idea for The Crooked Road in 2003. "There probably not a month that goes by when someone doesn't stop in our office and says, 'We're following The Crooked Road,'" said Leah Ross, executive director of Bristol's Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a stop along the road.

A 2008 study showed that The Crooked Road's economic impact brought in $13 million just that year. Floyd resident Woody Crenshaw said, "A lot of communities which felt like they just didn't have the assets, didn't have the opportunities, didn't have a direction, I think The Crooked Road has offered some hope. I really do." (Read more)

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