Galax, Virginia

In summer, Galax rolls out one music fest after another: HoustonFest in early May; Galax Leaf & String Festival in mid-June; the 80-years-running Old Fiddlers’ Convention in August. In June 2015, Galax will add the first annual Mountains of Music Festival to its calendar (the festival will involve 30-some towns throughout southwest Virginia for its nine-day inauguration). Galax’s Blue Ridge Music Center also hosts a summer concert series (you’ll love the outdoor amphitheater); through the end of October, you can find additional programming and view The Roots of American Music exhibit onsite. Year ’round, the Blue Ridge Backroads radio show broadcasts live from Galax’s Rex Theater. Arrive as early as 6:30 on a Friday night to witness, and ask about Saturday night concerts.

As you’d expect, Galax hosts its share of jams. Try the Tuesday night gathering at Stringbean Coffee Shop or stop into Barr's Fiddle Shop to ask about periodic sessions and view traditional instruments from a family that handcrafts them.