The Surry Arts Council - Mount Airy, NC The Surry Arts Council - Mount Airy, NC The Surry Arts Council - Mount Airy, NC The Surry Arts Council - Mount Airy, NC
Surry Arts Council





featuring musical hosts Travis Frye and Blue Mountain


Bluegrass and Old-Time Music take center stage at the Historic Earle Theatre as the Surry Arts Council presents "The Voice of the Blue Ridge." Local and regional bands present our local music heritage. Group tours are welcome.

Tickets are $7 or free with current SAC Season Pass

Tickets sold at the Historic Earle Theatre Box Office on the evening of the show. Group orders or Bus Tours can make arrangements by calling SAC at 336.786.7998 during regular business hours.

Purchase a SAC Season Pass for only $110 and attend all Voice of the Blue Ridge shows and over 100 other Surry Arts Council 2016-17 performances. Available by calling SAC at 336.786.7998

Musical Hosts
Travis Frye and Blue Mountain


 Featured Bands of the 2017 Season:


Featured Bands

February 18, 2017 The Marshall Brothers
June 17, 2017 Rich in Tradition
July 15, 2017 Sons of the South




Watch WUNC-TV production of Folkways hosted by David Holt and learn more about Old-Time Music and its start in Surry County, NC.


A Tribute to Ralph Epperson

On Groundhog Day, 1948, the people of Mount Airy tuned their radios to 740 on the AM dial and heard the first radio station they could call their own. WPAQ was the brainchild of Ralph Epperson, an Ararat, Virginia native who had been fascinated by radio since his early teens. In his application to the Federal Communications Commission, Ralph pledged to reflect the cultural and musical values of the people in his station's listening area. He promised he would provide a showcase for local talent at his station. That promise has never been broken. The weekly Merry-Go-Round, the third longest running live radio broadcast in the nation, was created as a spotlight to promote area musicians. Many of those have become traditional music icons Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and Mac Wiseman to name a few.

Today the Merry-Go-Round continues to host the stars of tomorrow drawn from right here in the Blue Ridge. The Merry-Go-Round returned to its roots in Downtown, Mount Airy in 1998 on its 50th Anniversary. It is broadcast from the Earle Theatre (142 Main Street) from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Saturday. Join them for the live broadcast and experience the Merry-Go-Round in person ($5 admission at the door or $20 Annual Pass) or tune your Radio to WPAQ AM 740 or online at


What's the difference between Old Time and Bluegrass Music?



  • Fiddle Leads
  • Dancing Beat
  • Happy, Upbeat
  • Open back banjo
  • Banjo style is clawhammer
  • Old Time is mainly upbeat instrumental dance music where the fiddle is the boss
  • Tommy Jarrell


  • No lead instrument; instruments play solo "breaks" between verses
  • Vocal style
  • "Celebration of Pain"
  • Banjo with resonator
  • Banjo played with finger picks in a three-finger style developed by Earl Scruggs
  • Bluegrass is a vocal style where the instruments freely improvise and the singer takes the lead
  • Bill Monroe
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