TCL 5-16-14.indd - Blue Ridge Music Center
WEEKEND EDITION, MAY 16-18, 2014
TWIN COUNTY LIVING
Blue Ridge Music Center
SOMETHING TO DO/3B
AN N OU NC E S 2014 CO NCER T S E R I E S L I N E UP
ands performing during the 2014
Concert Series at the Blue Ridge Music
Center near Galax will include Grammy
award winners The Carolina Chocolate
Drops and The Steep Canyon Rangers.
The concert series will begin May 31
with bluegrass and old-time mountain
music performed by Chatham County Line
of Raleigh, N.C., and The Buckstankle
Boys of the and continues through Oct. 11,
with a concert featuring The Steep Canyon
Rangers of Raleigh, N.C., and The New
Spring Valley Boys from Grayson County.
“The music center is located at the heart
of one of the most musical places on earth,
the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and
North Carolina,” said BRMC Program
Director Richard Emmett.
Concerts are held in the 2,000-seat outdoor amphitheater that lies at the base of
Fishers Peak along the Blue Ridge
Parkway, at Milepost 213 on the Virginia/
North Carolina state line. “It is one of the
most naturally beautiful concert locations
in the country,” Emmett said.
The BRMC is a major venue and attraction of both The Blue Ridge Music Trails
of North Carolina and The Crooked Road:
Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.
This year’s performers will include:
• Jens Kruger (winner of the 2013 Steve
Martin Excellence in Banjo & Bluegrass
Award) and The Kruger Brothers
• bluegrass notables Junior Sisk &
• The James King Band and Wyatt Rice
• luthier and music maker Wayne
• Piedmont bluesmen Dom Flemons and
• guest hosts Paul Brown (NPR’s
Morning Edition) and Kinney Rorrer
(WVTF 89.1 FM)
• Stevie Barr (Barr’s Fiddle Shop in
Galax) and The Mastertones
• Big Country Bluegrass
• Local and regional favorites like The
Slate Mountain Ramblers, The Elkville
String Band, The Wolfe Brothers String
Band, The New Ballards Branch
THE CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS
Bogtrotters and Mountain Park String
• A few younger, up-and-coming acts
from North Carolina and Virginia, including Red June, Chatham County Line,
Kripplekrunk featuring Rex McGee, The
Buckstankle Boys, The New Spring Valley
Boys, Jus’ Cauz Bluegrass Band, Hard
Cider, Kitty Amaral & The Stray Cats, The
Black Twig Pickers and The Indian Run
Shows are generally scheduled for
Saturday evenings from 7-9 p.m., with a
few exceptions — a Friday, June 20, show
the night before Wayne Henderson’s
Festival at Grayson Highlands State Park
and a Sunday evening show on Aug. 3 that
ties into the arrival of folks for the Galax
Old Fiddlers’ Convention the week of Aug.
The final four fall shows of the season
Visit BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org for
(Sept. 20, 27 and Oct. 4, 11) will begin at 4
more detailed information about the season
schedule, including bios, images, web links
and videos of the performers, plus advance
purchase ticket links.
Advance tickets can be purchased online
at the BRMC website; through Brown
Paper Tickets; by calling or visiting the
THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS
Blue Ridge Music Center, at the Blue
Ridge Parkway Foundation office in
Winston-Salem, N.C.; or at Barr’s Fiddle
Shop in Galax.
Tickets range from $7 to $20, depending
on the show.
BRMC 2014 Season Ticket Passes are
available by contacting the Blue Ridge
Parkway Foundation office at (866) 3082773, extension 213. Season passes are
$100, a savings of $118 off the full season
Patrons are encouraged to bring their
own lawn chairs and are welcome to bring
their own picnic basket. No alcohol is
The Galax Smokehouse will be present
on concert nights, serving their Memphis
style BBQ and sides.
More to Do
There is plenty to do at the Blue Ridge
Music Center, even when there isn’t a
concert going on.
“The sounds of the fiddle, banjo and
guitar are likely to welcome you when
you visit,” Emmett said.
Visitors can experience regional traditional music each day of the week with
local Mid-Day Mountain Musicians
playing for free on the breezeway of the
visitors center from noon to 4 p.m.
The music center also features the
state-of-the-art Roots of American
Music, a free, interactive and entertaining exhibition highlighting the historical
significance of the region’s music.
“Trace the history of Blue Ridge
BLACK TWIG PICKERS
mountain music through local artists
back to the creation of the music generations ago by persons from Europe
and West Africa,” Emmet said. The
exhibit also shows the music’s “continued influence on many forms of folk,
rock and popular music made across
The music center is also the starting
point for two beautiful hiking trails —
the easy, family-friendly High Meadow
Trail, a Kids in Parks TRACK Trail (1.35
miles - one way); and the moderate
Fisher Peak Loop Trail (2.24 miles).
BIG COUNTRY BLUEGRASS
The center is at 700 Foothills Road
in Galax, at milepost 213 on the Blue
It is open May 10-19 on Thursday
though Monday, and then seven days a
week beginning May 22. Hours are 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m. For information, call (276) 2365309 or visit blueridgemusiccenter.org/.
The Blue Ridge Music Center is operated by The National Park Service, with
programming coordinated through a
partnership with The Blue Ridge
Eating on the clock
Despite my reputation as the suave and
about town, I really
don’t go out to very
many nice eating
Thus I generally forget how to act when I
get there. From seattodd
ing to tipping, I’m
jennings never quite sure if I’m
doing the right thing.
To enjoy fine dining one needs to be accepting of the
things they cannot change. The costs,
”Omigosh! Look at these prices!”
“Well, you’re paying for the atmosphere!”
“Atmosphere? Geez, I could have
breathed before I got here!”
We went to one fancy restaurant and I
was stunned by the sheer number of
employees. An amazing array of culinary
foot soldiers whose very existence
depended on whether or not I got fed.
First, there was the über-perky receptionist who greeted us and asked us how
many were in our party.
Then we were handed over to a
slightly less chipper girl who directed
us to our table.
Then someone asked us our drink
Finally, a smartly-dressed waitress
arrived to guide us mere mortals through
the ordering process.
Visiting new establishments means several minutes of staring at unfamiliar
menus, trying to get a feel for the house
But when the waitress asks for the third
time, “Should I give you folks a few more
minutes to decide?” she actually means,
“Ya know, there’s a Wendy’s just down
And lately I have become keenly aware
that restaurants have an unspoken customer time limit. Here’s the gist.
You’re out to dinner. The food was
great, the drinks were great, the napkins
su-PERB! You’re having a lovely time
basking in your post-consumption after-
glow and discussing the latest Mower
Babe sightings when, all of a sudden,
you get this feeling. It’s like you’re
And then it hits you: You ARE being
watched. The manager is inexplicably
giving you an evil glare. And this is long
before your debit card gets declined.
The waiter keeps asking, “How are we
doing over here? Can I get you anything
else? Some more Similac, perhaps?”
No, thanks, we’re fine. Five minutes
later, the same routine. “Are you folks still
doing okay?” Seriously, dude, we’re fine.
By the fourth check-in, I wanted to
ask if he’d care to sit down and join us
for leftover appetizers. I didn’t,
though, because I figured he had other
tables to harass.
Yep! That’s when the writing’s on the
wall — you’ve overstayed your welcome.
A fresh herd of paying customers are waiting for your table, and it’s high time for
you to move your overfed backside to the
Ya sap! You missed the clues early on!
When that check voucher hit the table, the
restaurant etiquette time bomb started
So how long after your meal do you
have to actually pay the check? How long
after you pay the check can you still sit at
By my estimation, if even 16 seconds
elapse after the check arrives, a cash tip
better be lying under your napkin and
your feet pointing to the nearest exit. If
not, the busboy will be swiping salt and
pepper shakers out from under your nose
in hopes you’ll take the hint.
I hate that feeling. Nobody likes being
rushed. My take: When you’re paying to
eat out, you’re entitled to stay for as long
or as little as you’d like.
Set up residence if you want. Pick out
curtains. Declare the men’s room a Third
World nation and appoint the maitre` d’ as
secretary of state. That’s just part of the
social contract of restaurants.
Sure there’s a line at the door but the
über-perky receptionist can handle it.
She’s young and hot and wearing a
The situation can be very uncomfort-
able for everyone involved, server and
diner alike. The server doesn’t want to
kick anyone out. That’s not in their job
Especially when confronted with several dozen half-drunk patrons armed with
steak knives. They’re just college kids
trying to make enough money to pay their
share on this weekend’s kegger. They just
want the table free so another group can
come in and tip ‘em again.
The crux of the biscuit is this: I paid for
my meal. With REAL money, might I
add, not the stuff I usually pass around to
the local merchants.
That price doesn’t just include the cost
of my food, it’s basically rent money for
all the goods and services I received while
still in the restaurant.
Including, but not limited to, the luxury
of enjoying the company of my fellow
diners. Even the ones standing in line
who, along with Miss Über-perky, are
busy flipping me off.
Todd’s weekly column: If you had a
choice you’d still be here.