When someone speaks of a "Phoenix rising" it is usually in reference to good things that rise from the ashes like the fabled bird of Greek mythology. In the case of the McGuire Family Campgrounds in Dublin, this is an image that is literally true. When Mike and Sharon McGuire and their son Jason and daughter Jennifer found the campground in 1995, its one building, a convenience store, was mostly a burned out building. Now almost 18 years and a lot of hard work later, McGuires has a busy RV campground, a restaurant, and the Hillbilly Opry, a Saturday night music experience that is the newest Affiliated Venue of The Crooked Road.
Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 pm, representatives of The Hillbilly Opry will be presented with a banner acknowledging this venue's recent inclusion as a Crooked Road Affiliated Venue. As an Affiliated Venue, The Hillbilly Opry will be represented in Crooked Road publicity and promotional materials as a family and community oriented place where visitors can experience authentic traditional music of the region.
The Hillbilly Opry started in 1996, when Mike McGuire and his son Jason realized there was a lot of interest in the bluegrass music of the region but not many places close to Dublin where people could bring their families to enjoy an evening of entertainment together. "Dad and I had been playing music for friends and neighbors for several months in a part of the original building that hadn't burned down, so when we started building the restaurant, we decided to include a performance venue that also has plenty of space and a great floor for the dancers who come. We have line dancers, flatfooters, buck dancers, even Irish step dancers here on occasion," says Jason.
"Our focus is on providing high quality shows from our stage with some of the region's best musicians. The music and instruments are bluegrass oriented, but we strive to have something for everybody. In addition to bluegrass, people are just as likely to hear an Eagles song, a Jimmy Buffett tune, or a Merle Haggard song," says Jason. "I guarantee before the three hours of entertainment is up, everyone there will have heard some of their favorite songs, and they may come away with a new appreciation of just how much this region's traditional music has influenced artists like the Eagles or the Hag."
The Hillbilly Opry music runs from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. every Saturday night year round. Admission is $6 per person for three hours of entertainment. "We have always worked to keep our event affordable so families will have a great place to spend time together that is alcohol and smoke free." Jason says. The campground is located at exit 101 off I-81at 4925 State Park Road, just a mile from the entrance to Claytor Lake State Park.
The Affiliated Venues and Festivals of The Crooked Road are places where the best traditional music of the region is heard and includes annual festivals and weekly or monthly jams and concerts. A complete listing of the Affiliated Venues and Festivals and the nine Major Venues of The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail can be found at www.thecrookedroad.org.
The Crooked Road's mission is to support economic development in Southwest Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region's unique musical and cultural heritage. The Trail itself covers 330 miles and connects Rocky Mount in Franklin County to Breaks Interstate Park in Dickenson and Buchanan Counties.
For additional information about The Crooked Road, call 276-492-2409. For more information about The Hillbilly Opry, call 540- 674-5561.