RiddleFest, a day of musical education and activities honoring Yancey County native Lesley Riddle, a talented African-American musician who traveled the Southeast with legendary A.P. Carter from 1929-1934 documenting and recording the earliest forms of country music, is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 16.
This year’s event focuses on capturing mountain life via story and song. Activities get under way with a seminar from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the town center.
Keynote speaker is Michael Reno Harrell of Burke County. Harrell, an internationally-known singer and storyteller, will demonstrate how to take family memories and turn them into stories and songs revealing life in the southern Appalachians.
Laura Boosinger of Madison County will follow with a look at the ballad as a musical form used to transmit community values from one generation to the next. Boosinger is director of the Madison County Arts Council and a well-known singer of traditional mountain music.
There is no admission charge for the seminar, thanks to a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council.
Harrell and Boosinger will also perform at the RiddleFest concert at 7 p.m. The lineup also features the homegrown RiddleFest Revue playing Lesley Riddle’s signature music.
RiddleFest is presented by the Burnsville-based Traditional Voices Group, in cooperation with the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Mountain Heritage Center in Burnsville.
“RiddleFest was created to honor the legacy of Lesley Riddle and we hold it in February as part of Black History Month,” said Jeanne Ray Styles, executive director of the Mountain Heritage Center. “Lesley is an important part of Yancey County history, and the history of country music in general.”
Concert tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Burnsville Town Center at (828) 682-7209. For more information about the seminar and concert, visit: www.tvgnc.org.