Call us at 800.228.PARK

Mill Towns and the Birth of American Music Conference

Home » Events » Mill Towns and the Birth of American Music Conference
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Mill Towns and the Birth of American Music Conference

April 11 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

The Blue Ridge Music Center is inviting music lovers to explore the musical history of our country during a one-day conference titled Mill Towns and the Birth of American Music on Thursday, April 11, at WinMock at Kinderton in Bermuda Run, North Carolina. The conference and an evening concert will follow the thread of musical influences and traditions that were born out of mill and factory towns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

During this period, migrants came from across the countryside to the growing cities and towns in search of work in the factories and textile mills. These newcomers included musicians who introduced each other to the rhythms, techniques, and musical styles they played. At the same time, the business of music was taking off with the burgeoning recording industry, the growing reach of radio, and an economic incentive for writing original songs. The combination of these forces led to the creation of new musical forms which spread throughout the country.

The conference will feature musicians, songwriters, authors, scholars, and others interested in how cultural and economic forces helped shape popular music. The discussion will center on the role of mills and factories in the early 20th century as a catalyst to the creation of new musical traditions that are the roots of today’s American music. Traditional and roots music professionals with expertise in early American folk and traditional music history will lead the sessions.

New York Times bestselling author Wiley Cash, who wrote The Last Ballad, will be the keynote speaker and Patrick Huber, author of Linthead Stomp, will also be presenting.

The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. with a continental breakfast and ends at 5 p.m. A concert follows the conference at 7:30 p.m. in Winston-Salem, and will featuring Ralph Berrier Jr., Sarah Bryan, Bob Carlin, Hunter Holmes, Kinney Rorrer, Lightin’ Wells, Tony Williamson, and more.

Registration for the conference, which includes breakfast, lunch, panel discussions, breakout sessions, the keynote address, admission to the evening concert, and a copy of The Last Ballad is $130. Cost to attend the lunchtime keynote address only is $50. Preregistration is required for both. Concert tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. For more information, registration and tickets, go to or call (866) 308-2773, ext. 212.


April 11
8:30 am - 5:00 pm


Blue Ridge Music Center Amphitheater
MP 213, Blue Ridge Parkway or 700 Foothills Road, Galax, VA
Galax, VA United States
+ Google Map