History of the Festival
Carved from the very foundations of the southern textile industry, country music was formed by the early twentieth century genius that was Charlie Poole, a textile mill worker and banjoist in Spray, North Carolina (now Eden). Poole and his band, the North Carolina Ramblers traveled in 1925 from Spray to New York to make their first recording for Columbia Records, a hit that went on to revolutionize American music history. In 1995, members of the Eden Preservation Society realized the need to recognize this special heritage, and decided to do so in the form of a music festival in Poole's honor.
The first year was marked by not one, but two, festivals, with performances mainly by local artists (the area is still rich with musical talent). After several years, the decision was made to seek more well-known acts to perform in addition to the local performers. Many of the true-greats of American music have graced the stage of the Charlie Poole Music Festival - Norman & Nancy Blake, Tony Rice, the Osborne Brothers, J.D. Crowe and Mike Seeger - to name a few.
Piedmont Folk Legacies, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was created to usher the Charlie Poole Music Festival into its second decade. A competition was added in the 11th year with an emphasis on Poole-style banjo and related string band instruments. Concerts continue to feature the quality performances for which the event has become known. And fans continue to come from around the country and around the world to soak up the rich heritage that is our legacy – the legacy of Charlie Poole.
The tenth anniversary festival held in May, 2005 was honored to host the release of a wonderful retrospective CD box set of Poole's music and influences You Ain't Talkin' to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music (Columbia Legacy) produced by Hank Sapoznik. Also, in September, 2010, Piedmont Folk Legacies was honored to present a special benefit concert by Loudon Wainwright III in recognition of his Grammy-winning double cd, "High, Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project."