Fiddler Jake Krack

Photo By Bob Weaver

Some of Calhoun's best known musicians will begin playing today in Washington DC at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival.

Several days this summer old-time musicians Jake Krack, Dara Krack, Lester McCumbers, and Linda McCumbers of Calhoun and Kim Johnson of Clendenin will take part in the prestigious and popular festival.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival program, "Appalachia: Heritage and Harmony," is the culminating event for the Year of Appalachia, designated by Congress to run through July. Held on the National Mall from Wednesday, June 25 through Sunday, June 29 and from Wednesday, July 2 through Sunday, July 6, the program will focus on musical traditions of the region, including bluegrass, old-time music, African-American traditions, blues, gospel, ballads and occupational songs. Admission is free.

Festival activities will include musical performances throughout the area from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.

As many as 100,000 people per day are expected to attend. The last time West Virginia artists were featured at this festival was 1976.

The Appalachia: Heritage and Harmony program celebrates the 75th anniversary of the "Bristol Sessions," recordings made of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in the Tennessee-Virginia border town of Bristol in August 1927. Those commercial recordings brought old time ballads, string and mountain music to broad audiences across the United States, and established the beginnings of what is now known as country music.

Lester McCumbers and Jake Krack will represent West Virginia.

The region around Bristol—encompassing portions of Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia—has been a historic center of cultural creativity. Country music started out as a music of its people. The roots of this music lie in the proclivity of folks to turn experience into story, song, and music. Dolly Parton, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, and Loretta Lynn among others come from the region. The Festival will feature not only music, but also the foodways, storytelling, and work lore that inspires and sustains it.

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