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Music in the Valle

Article Published: May. 17, 2012 | Modified: Aug. 31, 2012
Music in the Valle

Zephyr Lightning Bolts (sponsored by Western Youth Network) play Aug. 31.

For 10 years, the community of Valle Crucis has come together for live music and will celebrate a landmark achievement in its musical tradition.

Saturday marks the opening of the Valle Crucis Community Park’s summer concert series, Music in the Valle, and will celebrate its decade long tradition of old-time and bluegrass music in the High County.

The first concert features Diana and Sarvis Ridge, Southbound and The Sheets Family Band performing from noon to 6 p.m. in what park director Caroline Gandy calls “this small music festival.”

The summer concert series, started by park volunteer Tracy Johnson, started out as a “jam session,” Gandy said, but has evolved into the series it is today with a solar-powered stage at the park entrance, built two years ago by Appalachian State University students. The series draws in more tourists every year, she said.

“You come out to Valle Crucis, and it’s just kind of an unbelievable community,” Gandy said. “It’s so beautiful, and you sort of feel like you step back in time, so tourists get out there, and they just can’t believe that it’s real.”

Although Gandy has only been involved with the Valle Crucis park for three out of the 10 years, she has seen the impact of the concert series on the community, as well as its growth.

“It’s grown a lot and changed a lot in the past few years,” she said. “When I came out to the park, I would say a big night would get 100 to 150 people. In the past three years, it’s grown, so a big night for us now is 300 to 500 people.”

Even with the growing attendance numbers, the concerts have always been free to the public. To compensate, the park, which is nonprofit, takes donations by passing around a hat, while local businesses support the effort by paying the bands to perform. Gandy said the park takes as much as $6,000 in donations a summer to keep the concerts free to everyone.

“I think those families around here really love it, and they can come out, and the kids can go play on the playground while their parents can see their friends and listen to music,” Gandy said. “It’s just a really relaxed setting, and everybody brings a picnic, and you can bring beer and wine.”

Deborah Jean Sheets, guitarist of The Sheets Family Band, is happy to perform.

“We were very thrilled that they contacted us and asked us to do that, because it is a special place,” she said, adding it’s an honor to be one of the groups selected to celebrate the decade’s worth of music.

Southbound, a band that has made an appearance at MerleFest, will play at the summer concert series for the first time. Bassist Brian Hicks has seen a few of these concerts over the years and enjoys the outdoor concerts – and the vibes – and looks forward to performing.

“It’s a great honor,” he said. “We’re looking forward to it and looking forward to playing it, as well as others in the future.”

At Saturday’s concert, Boone-based Comeback Shack will sell burgers, chicken sandwiches and hot dogs, and Apple Hill Farm will bring alpacas to the park. Both businesses are co-sponsors of the event.

All Friday summer concert are free, but Saturday’s is an exception. Adult admission is $5, and children’s admission is $2, with all proceeds going back to the Valle Crucis Community Park.

Comeback Shack food plates will sell for $8, including a sandwich and two sides, with 10 percent of the sales going back to the park.

For more information, contact Caroline Grandy at ( Valle Crucis Community Park is located off Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis.


May 25 – Ital Seeds (sponsored by “Animals, People, Environment”)

June 1 – John Woodall Music (sponsored by Wren’s Nest Landscaping)

June 8 – The Mountain Laurels (sponsored by Rivercross Market)

June 15 – Sound Traveler (sponsored by Valle Crucis Conference Center)

June 22 – The Major Sevens (sponsored by High Country Local First)

June 29 – The Worthless Son-in-Laws (sponsored by Justus and Nettles Ridge ’Hood)

July 6 – Creekside Grass (sponsored by 1861 Farmhouse)

July 13 – The Wild Rumpus (sponsored by Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants)

July 20 – Kent Doobrow & Midnight Sun (sponsored by Stick Boy Bread Co.)

July 27 – High Standards (sponsored by Holy Cross Church)

Aug. 3 – Dashboard Hula Boys (sponsored by Valle Crucis School PTSA)

Aug. 10 – The Neighbors (sponsored by Mast General Store)

Aug. 17 – 8 Miles Apart

Aug. 25 – Folk & Dagger (sponsored by the McDaniel Family)

Aug. 31 – Zephyr Lightning Bolts (sponsored by Western Youth Network)

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