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22nd CFS Old-Time Music Jam Virginia Weekend: July 23-25
Slideshow of photos from past years here

Phlegar Farm Jam
As we move into the heat and humidity of Charlotte in July, perhaps you're wishing you could escape to the coolness of the mountains. We have the perfect opportunity to get away, socialize, and jam. Tom and Barbara Phlegar invite everyone reading this to join them for a three-day weekend, July 23-25, on the lovely Phlegar Family Farm in the hills of Virginia. For more than twenty summers, they've hosted a relaxed, family-friendly, gathering of folks who share a love of traditional acoustic music. Some are novice players; some are life-long pickers. Others are simply listeners. Most play old-time, bluegrass, or gospel tunes. Some are friends, relatives, and neighbors of the Phlegars. Others are strangers from several states away. All are welcomed.
Phlegar Farm Jam

Musicians start picking Friday night and continue jamming until the last folks leave on Sunday. Those present Saturday evening take a break to enjoy a covered dish supper with barbecued pork as the centerpiece. Folks are welcome to camp on the farm. Or they can choose to stay in one of the many hotels within a fifteen to thirty minute drive from the farm. The Phlegars charge no admission, but do ask for donations to help with expenses such as Porta-Jon rentals and paper products.

The 2010 CFS Old-Time Music Jam Weekend is July 23-25. Call Tom at 704-535-2154 by July 12th to let him know you're going. Tom says to come, even if you've not called to RSVP -- just be sure to bring a dish to share at Saturday supper. Plan to take chairs and instruments. The weekend is a family event, so please leave distilled spirits at home and limit the malted beverages.

Phlegar Farm Jam

Following is Tom Hanchett's summary of last year's weekend:

For twenty-one years now, CFS stalwarts Tom and Barbara Phlegar have hosted an annual July picking party at the family's home in the Virginia mountains. I finally got there last summer, and now I can hardly wait 'til July to go back.

It's only about three hours up I-77 north of Charlotte to Giles County, but it's like entering another world. Giles' biggest "industry" is the New River and the whole county does its best to welcome hikers, canoers, and others who love old-time mountain living. Tom Phlegar grew up there and he returned many years ago to build a new little timber-frame cabin - incorporating a handsome stone chimney from a 1700s dwelling that had burned.

Phlegar Farm Jam
Local pickers and listeners mingled with nearly two dozen travelers from Charlotte, all chatting comfortably in lawn chairs under century-old oaks and maples, the mountains rising above us all around. No stage, no microphones, just people sharing tunes.

And stories. Les Sears, retired postmaster, delighted CFS member Sharon Collins with a string of tales about his favorite fishing hole. Fish are so eager to bite, he claims, that you have to stand behind a tree to be able to bait a hook. When you catch them, the fish are so big that it only takes seven of them to make a dozen. In a cow pasture off to one side of the house, pickers from the local State Line band ripped through high-energy bluegrass standards, then a sweet-voiced version of Mr. Bojangles. On the other side of the cabin, the Gold Rush Band, who have mostly retired into their day jobs after a period on the national bluegrass circuit, remembered old favorite songs.

Phlegar Farm Jam
Elsewhere, little kids ran and danced while young fiddler Chris Via and his senior citizen band-mates played the old-time stringband tunes of Henry Reed, the legendary Virginia mountain fiddler who inspired the Red Clay Ramblers. After a potluck dinner, Chris teamed up with CFS fiddler Tom Walsh to play for cloggers, as Charlotte's Karen Singleton provided instruction for anyone new to dancing.

A big thank-you to Tom, Barbara, and all the others who make this an annual delight. Hope to see many CFS friends there in July!

Directions from Charlotte and points in North Carolina and South Carolina:

  1. Take I-77 North to I-81 (in Virginia); about 134 miles from Charlotte.

  2. I-81 North to Exit 98 (Route 100); about 25 miles.

  3. Route 100 North to Pearisburg, Virginia; about 20 miles. Go to first stop light. Turn right on Route 460 East. (Note: motels are one-half mile farther North on Route 100, past stoplight; Holiday Motor Lodge, 540-921-1551, and Plaza Motel, 540-921-2591.)

  4. Route 460 East will become four lanes at edge of town. Go past Wal-Mart on left and cemetery on right; about 3 miles.

  5. Bear right continuing on 460 East over a bridge which crosses the New River.

  6. After bridge, go up the hill. Turn left on State Route 635. You will see a sign that reads "White Rock Recreation Area" about 1.5 miles.

  7. At the bottom of a long hill and before starting back up another hill, turn right on State Route 626 (dirt), which is now called Dry Branch Road; about 1 mile.

  8. After traveling on this dirt road through heavy woods, you will open up into cleared fields. Partial remains of an old barn will be on the right. The gate and driveway to the house and gathering place are beside the barn. Look for a sign.