40th Annual Carter Family Memorial Festival

40th Annual Carter Family Memorial Festival

SCOTT COUNTY, Va. - It was 87 years ago that the Bristol Sessions took place, and it brought the limelight to one particular family from Scott County, Virginia. They became the standard bearers for taking their brand of music worldwide.

Of course we're talking about the Carter Family. 40 years ago the daughter of A.P. Carter, Jeanette, began what would become the Carter Fold. It began with a festival at the A.P.'s old store near Hiltons, Virginia.

The 40th anniversary of the festival honoring the Carter Family is this weekend. We took a look back at all that's happened with the Carter Fold in those 40 years.

A picture in the Carter Family Museum gives us a glimpse of an old country store with three individuals on the front porch with their instruments. Those three individuals brought Appalachian music to the world following their recordings at the Bristol Sessions in 1927.

"Three country people from a little tiny place, not even a dot on the map, did what they did, recorded the music that they recorded, traveled to Texas, started an industry, laid the foundation for an industry without even realizing that they were doing it," says Rita Forrester, granddaughter of A.P.

It wasn't long that the music outgrew the store and moved to an old tobacco barn, which is now the treasure known as the Carter Fold.

It all began with a promise made by the late Jeanette Carter, A.P.'s daughter. "She didn't set out to get the National Heritage Award, she did all of that along the way. Her only intent was to honor her family and fulfill a promise that she made to her father on his death bed," Forrester said.

It was the same promise that Rita made to her mother, and so the heritage and music lives on and with this weekend's 40th anniversary.

It's the family that will kick off the show. "My family is all headed here, part of them are already here. All the beds are full, I borrowed every bed in Scott County that I can borrow. We've got hotels full they're coming from every direction and I'm so happy," Forrester says.

Promises made and promises kept; rest well and in peace, Carter Family, and welcome back home to the Fold.

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