Amid the summer of gasoline shortages and and hard times, the Carter Family Fold of Hiltons, Virginia–just across the state line from Kingsport–is enjoying good audiences and great music. The Kingsport Times News ran an article on the Fold, and in it Rita Forrester says, “I think that’s due to The Crooked Road specifically marketing to England and other European countries, and the fact that foreign visitors are finding they can vacation here for not a lot of money.”
The Crooked Road she refers to is a marketing plan that links rural areas in Southwestern Virginia that have a musical theme. The website and a related guidebook, including a music CD, have lured roots music lovers to some very out of the way places.
I’ve hoped that the Carter Fold could survive the passing of Jeanette Carter, who with her brother Joe founded the Fold in 1974, but whose descendants have gotten into some squabbles. I’m glad to hear that the Fold is still pulling in crowds.
Forrester and family have rolled out a new website on which visitors can view the two-hour long shows that take place on Saturday nights. The good news is that people who have never been to the Fold can see groups such as the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band, The McLain Family Band, and the Dixie Bee Liners in streaming video. The bad news is that each show costs $5 to watch, and viewers can watch each one for only five days.
These fees go to support the Fold, which is a worthy cause, but they seem a bit much to me. I would pay $5, however, to see the shows that Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash–herself a daughter of the original Carter Family–did annually at the Fold for a period of years.
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