Dropped by The Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store on the way home last night.
Needed to drop of some pictures I had promised them a long time ago.
Stayed and took some more. Always a good time.
Too cold of course for the bands to play outside (the real show of the Jamboree during the warmer months) but a good crowd clogged and danced their way through the night. "It’s put Floyd on the map. It wasn’t there before," says Hubert Robertson, former owner of the Floyd Country Store.
Hubert was there at the beginning when he and other local musicians began jamming on Friday nights because "it was the only time we could get together." Hubert and his brother had a band back then, The Bluegrass Travelers, and he still plays on stage from time to time and on Sundays at Mabry Mill during the spring and summer months.
Floyd, as noted earlier, will be the starting point of the "The Crooked Road," a music trail that traces the roots of mountain and bluegrass music in Southwestern Virginia.
The Music Trail is a venture of state and federal groups and remains in the formative stage but should be a major attractions for bluegrass fans if everything comes together.
But the Jamboree thrives with or without a "Music Trail" because it is a unique event that draws visitors from far and wide.
Robertson likes to tell the story about the time he struck up a conversation with a couple and "I knew they weren’t from around here because they didn’t talk like us." So he asked where they were from. "The woman said ‘the South Pole’ just as normal as if they were talking about being from Christiansburg or something and I thought they were making fun of me and I expressed my feelings on that. ‘Oh, no,’ they said. ‘That’s where we’re from.’ Then they told me they lived there. Come to find out they were geologists for the government."
Mike Brough, the North Carolina lawyer who bought the store with one of his law partners, says visitors are just part of the equation.
"We have a lot of the regulars who are from the area. The Jamboree is part of the fabric of the community," Brough says. "It make us feel good when we see people from three to 93 out on the dance floor having a good time. That is what makes it all worthwhile."
Like Robertson said, The Friday Night Jamboree has "put Floyd on the map." Now that it is there, visitors find a lot of reasons to stick around. But Floyd has a number of other music venues as well, including Oddfellas, Pine Tavern (which just reopened after rennovation), Winter Sun and the VFW hall. Brough says the future is "too just keep on doing what we’re doing. As long as people keep coming, we’ll keep doing it."