Celebrating the Life and Music of Thomas Jefferson Jarrell
March 1, 1901 – January 28, 1985
Held annually during Tommy Jarrell’s birthday weekend.
The Round Peak region of Surry County is well-known for its rich history of old-time music. Tommy Jarrell, who played the old-time fiddle, was raised in the Round Peak community of Surry County. To celebrate Tommy’s life and music, the Tommy Jarrell Festival was created in 2002 to commemorate this accomplished old-time musician. Dances, music, concerts, and workshops are held during the last weekend of February each year – just before Tommy’s March 1st birthday. The Tommy Jarrell Festival activities are centered in the Earle Theatre.
Thursday, February 23, 2023 at Earle Theatre
- Youth Traditional Arts Lessons, Free
- 4:30 pm – Flatfoot Dance
- 5:30 pm – Fiddle
- 6:15 pm – Guitar/Banjo/Mandolin
Award-winning musician and teacher Jim Vipperman leads instrument classes and Darius Flowers instructs traditional dance. Instruments are provided if needed. Drop by for a hands-on music experience if you are visiting with your children or grandchildren. Parents and Guardians are welcome to stay and participate. This project is funded in part by a TAPS grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
INSTRUMENTS NEEDED! The Surry Arts Council is looking for additional guitars, fiddles, banjos, mandolins, and upright basses for our TAPS program. If you would like to donate an instrument, please come by the Surry Arts Council or call us at 336.786.7998.
Friday, February 24, 2023 at Andy Griffith Museum Theatre
- Wayne Erbson Beginning Banjo Workshop & Concert – Workshop: $35.00, Banjo Rental: $10.00, Workshop & Concert: $45.00
- Workshop – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, The workshops will take place in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre (lower level of the Andy Griffith Playhouse) and will include bluegrass banjo. Participants will be given the opportunity to learn from our bluegrass and old-time master Wayne Erbsen. Banjos will be available for a rental fee of $10 per banjo.
- Concert – 7:00 pm, Concert: $12.00 – As a musician, Wayne is a master of old-time, bluegrass, folk, Appalachian, cowboy, pioneer, railroad, and gospel music and music of the Civil War. He plays clawhammer and bluegrass banjo, fiddle, mandolin and guitar. Wayne has performed at across America and in western Europe. He has recorded many solo CDs and written dozens of music instruction books and songbooks. Wayne has won numerous prizes at fiddler’s conventions, including 1st place in clawhammer banjo (Galax, Virginia, 1973) and 1st place in senior old-time fiddler (Fiddler’s Grove, North Carolina, 2004).
Saturday, February 25, 2023
- Old-Time Workshops at the Earle Theatre, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, $25.00. Instructors: Martha Spencer and Emily Spencer
- Youth Competition at the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre, 4:00 pm, Free. Enjoy the amazing talents our WNC youth performers.Categories include fiddle, clawhammer banjo, guitar, vocal, dance, and other (which includes all other instruments and bands), in two age levels: 5-12 and 13-18. Each contestant may enter only two catagories. Contestants will have three minutes to perform and can have one accompanist, though no recorded backup is permitted.Contestants may register in advance by calling 336.786.7998 or on-site on the day of the competition. There is no fee for competing. Competition led by Lew Bode and Jim Vipperman.
- Birthday Celebration with Whitetop Mountain Band at Earle Theatre, 7:30 pm, $12.00. The Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Whitetop, Virginia is an area rich in the old-time music tradition; this band has deep roots in mountain music. The members have done much to preserve the Whitetop region’s style of old-time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style. The band is currently led by Emily Spencer, who was a founding member of the group in the mid-1970s.