Located in the heart of the southern Appalachian Mountains, western North Carolina has long been recognized for its traditional music and dance.
The Swannanoa String Band at the Asheville Farm School (Warren Wilson College), January 1895.
In 1924, Samantha Bumgarner of Jackson County became the first five-string banjo player ever recorded.
In 1928, banjo player and folk song collecter, Bascom Lamar Lunsford organized the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville to promote the region's traditional music and dance. It was here that group clogging got its start. The oldest festival of its kind in the country, the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival still takes place in Asheville every August.
Marcus Martin, a legendary old-time fiddler who lived in the Swannanoa valley, played for local dances including the Farmer's Ball. Fiddlers from around the world still listen to and learn from his repertoire of fiddle tunes recorded by the Library of Congress in 1941.
In the 21st century, western North Carolina continues to be a center for traditional old-time and bluegrass music, and it is home to an active music scene which includes numerous festivals, picking sessions, and dances throughout the year.