The New River Gorge is home to a variety of cultural and artistic endeavors that are not only representative of the region, but also tell the stories of their creators. Every summer, music fans can find a variety of different local musicians playing music at festivals, concerts, bars, restaurants and other public areas. Many genres are represented in the New River Gorge, but many musicians tend to favor a country-style, grassroots sound that often is categorized as “Appalachian”.
What does this mean for guests of the region? It means that visitors can spend a day exploring the fun activities offered in West Virginia, such as whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking, and horseback riding (to name a few) and then an evening experiencing music from local musicians at festivals, concerts, and bars. This variety of available activities means that no matter your interest, there will be something fun for you to do! Keep reading for a quick summary of some of the musicians that vacationers (and locals, of course) could have the opportunity to see this summer.
- The Wild Rumpus is a local favorite in the region, with their “stomp grass” style. They are known for getting the crowd on their feet and moving with the music. They can often be seen playing at events and festivals, and are usually surrounded by a high-energy, dancing and singing crowd.
- The New River Youth Symphony & Chorus brings a slightly different taste to the New River Gorge. These talented young musicians play a variety of classical style music at concerts throughout the summer. If you are looking for a way to support local music and youth, this is a great option!
- The Half-Bad Bluegrass Band is exactly what is sounds like! Except more like “half good” (ha ha – see what we did there?)! Another local favorite, they are known throughout the area for their musical skills and also unique performance style. Be sure to catch them this summer!
- The Boatmen classify themselves as “American Soulgrass” with their interesting variety of instruments and singing styles found in the group. They can be found at many different venues throughout West Virginia and also into neighboring states.
- New River Jazz is great for those who crave a quieter (read: calmer) sound from the more common Appalachian variety of musicians. A local group, they play many different styles of jazz including new favorites and older classics at a number of different venues in the area.
If you are looking for a chance to see a number of local and regional artists playing together, be sure to check out the Appalachian String Band Festival. This gathering of musicians helps to preserve and promote the local music and culture of the New River Gorge and surrounding areas. In 2015, the event runs from July 29th to August 2nd, allowing for ample opportunities to not only enjoy the music, but also to explore other local opportunities that the region has to offer. Personally, we recommend a weekend of whitewater rafting to go with your music!
Have you seen any of these artists live? Who was your favorite, or are they someone not listed above? Leave us a comment sharing your experience!