Music in the Mountains Old Time Festival

Every year, old time festivals take place across the country. And while it’s been the home of old time music legends for decades, Pocahontas County doesn’t have a festival of its own. To address this, Brynn Kusic explained that the Pocahontas Opera House is starting off the 2014-2015 season with a weekend of old time music.

“We are calling it the first annual Music in the Mountains Festival,” Kusic said. “We thought it would just be neat to do it in partnership with community groups, and before we knew it, we had a photo display and we had musicians who wanted to come and do old time jams. And really, this was all just out of people’s desire to have a community festival and just pool our resources together and kind of show off what we’ve got here in Pocahontas County.”

This celebration of old time music and dance will start with Born Old on Friday, July 18 at 7:30. The Born Old duo, Paul Gartner and Doug Van Gundy, performed at the Opera House in 2012, and they were featured on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage in 2010. “They’ll be coming together to give us some old time traditional music,” Kusic said. “At that time, there will also be a photo exhibit of some rarely seen photographs from Laurie Cameron and Doug Chadwick in the lobby of the Opera House.”

On Saturday, July 19th, the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame Traveling Museum will be parked outside the Opera House, offering an interactive exhibit on the history of West Virginia music. “They’ll also have a sound box, so if you have a song that your family has sung for years or a song that you just love to sing, you’re invited to record that song.”

“We’re inviting all local musicians to bring their instruments. That will be our music for the afternoon. During that time, there’s also going to be some demonstrations from 4th Avenue Gallery crafters.”

The Opera House will also be partnering with Allegheny Mountain Radio to offer a story booth from 2-5 on Saturday. “We will have a room in the Opera House where folks can come in and record a story. So if you’ve got a story about a time you remember playing music with neighbors on the porch, or the first day you picked up an instrument—whatever you feel inspired to tell us, we’d love to put it into the archive.

There will also be what Kusic calls a “cast iron skillet cornbread contest.”  “We’re inviting everyone to bring in your submission by 4pm,” Kusic said. “We’ll be serving a cornbread and soup beans dinner at 5pm. The first place winner of the cornbread contest will receive a trophy.”

Saturday evening will include a square dance at the Opera House. Beginners can arrive at 7pm for a little lesson, and the square dance will start at 7:30.

You can learn more about the Music in the Mountains Old Time Festival by visiting, or by calling the Opera House at 304-799-6645.

“A lot of places across the country host old time festivals and here we are in Pocahontas County, a hotbed of state parks and beautiful land where people can camp, and just a great history of traditional music.”

Story By

Megan Moriarty

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