By Angie DeWitt
When you hear the ‘Sound of Morgantown,’ what do you picture? What do you think of? For some, the sound of Appalachian Music comes to mind.
Having become wildly popular among some groups, while still remaining an ‘underground’ scene, Appalachian music, or bluegrass, has its roots here in West Virginia.
Morgantown, WV hosts the annual Gardner Winter Music Festival.
Started in 1978 by Worley Gardner, the Festival features non-stop Appalachian music, workshops, “jam sessions,” and the luxury of socializing with others who share your same interests. This year the event was held at the end of February, and featured an extended set by LoganTown as they performed a tribute to famed fiddler, Elmer Rich.
The Festival sticks to their theme when it comes to the food, as well: pepperoni rolls – a West Virginia favorite, sausage gravy and biscuits, and cream chicken and biscuits.
Morgantown Friends of Old Time Music and Dance is another organization here in Morgantown that is dedicated to celebrating our famed heritage. They host frequent community square and contra dances at Marilla Park in Sabraton. They can be found on Facebook here, and also be sure to check out June Moon Dance Weekend!
In 2014, West Virginia University dedicated part of its Mountaineer Week to music, square dancing, and crafting and quilting of the Appalachian heritage.
“Our West Virginia hills will ring with the sounds of fiddles, banjos and dulcimers during Mountaineer Week this year as we celebrate Appalachian Music.” – Sonja Wilson
Wilson felt it was important for students to understand the homeland of West Virginian natives. Taylor Runner and Chris Haddox helped out immensely with the square dance segment, encouraging students to “come one, come all.”
Musical traditions from our homeland are important links to the past and must be cherished and passed through generations.” – Sonja Wilson
To learn more about the Appalachian culture, take a look at the Appalachian Music Project as Juliana and Jordan search for what it means to be Appalachian.