Heritage Performing Arts

Burnsville’s Tenth Annual Riddlefest

David Holt in Spencer, NC. Photo courtesy of David Holt

The Traditional Voices Group (TVG) of Burnsville will host the tenth annual Riddlefest with music from David Holt and Josh Goforth on Friday, June 30, from 7–9 p.m. The event honors Lesley Riddle, an African-American musician born in Yancey County who worked with the Carter Family to establish the foundations of country music.

“Riddlefest benefits the Traditional Voices Group, a nonprofit organization of Burnsville that collects the oral histories of mountain culture and promotes the memory of Lesley Riddle,” says Ellen Denker, vice president of TVG. “David and Josh enjoy performing old-time music they have collected from a variety of artists and centuries; it’s exciting to ponder what new songs they will bring to the stage.”

Born in 1905, Lesley Riddle spent time traveling the southern countryside collecting traditional songs with A.P. Carter. The Carter Family eventually recorded many of these songs including famous tracks like Cannonball Blues. Riddle’s passion for mountain music and culture help inspire TVG in their goals to preserve and celebrate Appalachian heritage.

“Preceding the concert from 2–3 p.m., David Holt and Roy Andrade (music professor at East Tennessee State University) will be leading a short seminar that explores traditional musicians as historians of mountain culture,” says Denker. “The seminar is made possible through a grant we recently received from the North Carolina Humanities Council.”

Riddlefest will be held at the Burnsville Town Center, located on 6 South Main Street. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at the event or in advance by calling 828.682.7209. For more information visit traditionalvoicesgroup.com or call Jeanne Ray Styles at 828.682.9654.

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