By Jesse Wood
Sept. 1, 2014. Music will accompany perhaps the sweetest view of the John’s River Gorge on Saturday, Sept. 20, when The Blowing Rock attraction hosts a two-stage, music festival featuring Wayne Henderson, Lacy Green, The Harris Brothers, Moore Brothers Band and several other acts in the Americana genre.
This is the inaugural The Blowing Rock Music Festival. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Advanced reserved seating is $35. Children under $12 are free. Lawn chairs and coolers are welcome, and VIP tents are available. Gates open at 9 a.m. and musical performances take place from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Established in 1933 by Grover C. Robbins, Sr., The Blowing Rock is the oldest travel attraction in North Carolina. Because of the updraft caused by the northwest wind and the angled rock, Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” declared it the only place on earth where it snows upside down. The Blowing Rock is also the setting for a fascinating Native American legend (see at end of article).
While the Bernhardt family has owned the land of The Blowing Rock for decades, descendants of Robbins have leased the property and operated the attraction since its inception. Charlie Sellers, a grandson of Robbins, is the newest owner of the attraction.
Sellers took over on Jan. 1 and said he immediately began “thinking outside the box” for the attraction to remain a prominent fixture in the state’s tourism industry for years to come. Sellers envisions The Blowing Rock Music Festival, weddings and other special events to encourage folks – especially locals who have never made it over – to visit The Blowing Rock.
“Where else could you have a prettier spot for a reception for a wedding or a small corporate meeting or a family reunion?” Sellers asked.
Or a music festival?
The upcoming event will feature two stages and vendor tents. The main stage will be located in the parking lot of the attraction, and the “rock stage” will be located inside the attraction, where festivalgoers will be able to see the layered landscape of the John’s River Gorge, which descends 3,000 feet, as well as walk the trails and see the famous rock outcropping.
A shuttle will transport folks to the festival grounds, although folks can purchase VIP tickets, which feature a parking pass at The Blowing Rock and special seating, by calling 828-295-7183.
Tickets can be purchased by calling The Blowing Rock Attraction (828-295-7183), Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce (828-295-7851) and Boone Area Chamber of Commerce (828-264-2225).
See performance schedule below:
- Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn
- Canyons Restaurant
- Woodlands Barbecue
- Green Park Inn
- Shorepark, LLC
- The Blowing Rock Market
- The New Public House & Hotel
- Meadowbrook Inn
Native American Legend of The Blowing Rock
Legend has it that a Chickasaw chief feared the white man’s admiration of his daughter and brought her to The Blowing Rock, far from the white man and close to the care of a squaw mother. Soon, though, a Cherokee brave wandering amidst the John’s River Gorge and this young Chickasaw maiden began flirting and would eventually become lovers.
“One day a strange reddening of the sky brought the brave and the maiden to The Blowing Rock. To him it was a sign of trouble commanding his return to his tribe in the plains. With the maiden’s entreaties not to leave her, the brave, torn by conflict of duty and heart, leaped from The Blowing Rock into the wilderness far below,” reads the legend on The Blowing Rock website. “The grief-stricken maiden prayed daily to the Great Spirit until one evening with a reddening sky, a gust of wind blew her lover back onto The Blowing Rock and into her arms. From that day a perpetual wind has blown up onto The Rock from the valley below. For people of other days, at least, this was explanation enough for The Blowing Rock’s mysterious winds causing even the snow to fall upside down.”