The Sounds Of Music In The Blue Ridge


photo of Bendigo Flectch playing, by Micah Mayr

Micah Mayr, Reporter

The Blue Ridge Mountains are well known for not only the amazing views but also the unique music that has originated in them. According to Blue Ridge Mountain Music Trails website, here in these same mountains, we live in folk, jazz, blues, rock, gospel, and country music, all with roots that trace back to Rockbridge County. People would play in their living rooms, town squares, and theaters if they could. Still to this day, we have many venues within the area that still exhibit these musical roots in the way of concerts and festivals, ones you do not want to miss.

The Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington is one of the venues in Rockbridge County.  According to the Lime Kiln Theater website, the now concert venue was originally a limestone quarry and kiln, which later became abandoned. In 1967, two Washington and Lee University students used this space for a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” theater performance. These two realized how great of a natural theater it was, and 15 years later, those students convinced the land owner to allow the quarry to become an establishment for an art organization. 

To this day, you can go and see concerts, performances, and plays. Performers include names like Mandolin Orange, Shakey Graves, Madison Cunningham, Love Canon, The Milk Carton Kids, and so many more artists. Lime Kiln has become a mark of status and success in the music industry, artists desire to play here, no matter how big they may be. At the venue, you can get refreshments, food from local restaurants, and the artist’s merch. It is an experience worth taking part in. On March 21 and 22, the 2023 lineup will be released and tickets will be available for sale. 

The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville is also a great way to spend your night. For only an hour’s drive and cheap parking, many great artists perform here. According to CvillePedia, The Jefferson was not always a concert venue. It was built as a bank in 1901, then sold as a performance theater in 1912. Showing silent films and historic performances that consisted of Harry Houdini to The Three Stooges. The Jefferson quickly needed a renovation due to a fire, which closed them down for a period of time. In 1935, Dominion Theaters took over the Jefferson and reopened it as a movie theater. Dominion Theaters sold it to a local group businessman in 1969, who continued to use it to show films. It would not be until 2009 that Jefferson had their first live concert which was performed by Sons Of Bill. 

The Jefferson is still open and performing, just not Houdini anymore. They host names like Wallows, Mipso, Weezer, Billy Strings, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Oh Hellos, Dr. Dog, Chris Stapelton, and many artists who are now playing in stadiums. 

For a bit longer trip, Brown’s Island in Richmond is the way to go. According to Brown’s Island, this island’s history started in 1789 with Elijah Brown – who the island is named after – the first recorded person to step on the island. Browns Island has had many purposes and uses, such as canals, coal power plants, hydroelectric power plants, and paper mills. None of which are comparable to the amazing concert venue it is now. Browns Island can fit up to 16,000 people and is a great place to enjoy an outside concert. With trees and the James River surrounding the venue on all sides, it is a beautiful place to go listen to artists like Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Flipturn, Mt. Joy,  Young The Giant, Colter Wall, Tyler Childers, and many more great names.