On Friday, July 9th the historic Friday Night Jamboree will once more take place inside the walls of The Floyd Country Store for the first time in a year and a half. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the old time music and dance event had only missed one or two Friday nights over the span of 35 years. The building and streets would fill each week with musicians, dancers, families, and visitors from around the world and the whole town buzzed with activity. Now, the community, musicians, and dancers are more than ready for the events to take place within the Store once more.
“The Floyd Country Store is like an instrument that needs to be played,” says store owner Dylan Locke, “It is at its best when there is music bouncing off the walls and people dancing on the floor.”
It isn’t that the music stopped over the past 18 months. Throughout the entirety of pandemic-related closures, The Floyd Country Store hosted backyard shows behind the Store during the warm months, and live-streamed concerts each week. The Handmade Music School, which works through the Store to offer workshops and lessons in old time, bluegrass, and country genres began to offer sessions online. Folks from around the world tuned in for entertainment and education, and Dylan Locke at the Store improved the video and sound quality of the social media live-streams to a professional level.
“There are a lot of things that we learned in adapting to online entertainment, and our international community has made it clear that they don’t want us to stop these videos once we get back to in-person events,” says Dylan. The team at the Store intends to continue to offer regular live-streamed shows to fans who aren’t able to easily come down for the music, but all are encouraged to plan a visit, because you really can’t beat the live experience in Floyd. “What we’re excited for the most about being back in the Store is that we get to see our friends again. To be able to connect on a personal level with each other and the music is something we have sorely missed.”
The backyard shows were a good middle-ground for safely gathering outdoors when the weather was good, but the slope of the hill makes for a difficult dance floor, and isn’t easily accessible for older or handicapped patrons. Also, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Overall though, the backyard has been a great place for a small outdoor show, and the Store intends to make use of that space (and the beautiful new back patio) for casual music events in the future.
The first Friday Night Jamboree back in the Store is scheduled for July 9th starting at 6:30pm. Josh Blankenship will open the evening with a gospel set, and Twin Creeks Stringband will kick off two old time dance sets starting at 7:30pm. Admission for the event is $8 ($5 for kids under 12, 6 and under free). Tickets are available at the door starting at 4:45, with some reserved seating available for purchase in advance (sold online only). The show goes until 10:00pm. Live music can also be heard around town on the street by local musicians in nice weather.
In addition to Friday nights, live music can be heard all weekend long at The Floyd Country Store. Americana Afternoons offer free live music in a casual setting from noon to 3:00, Saturday concerts and dances bring in top musical acts from across the country, and Sundays present community old time and bluegrass jams from 1:30-6:00pm (old time jam from 1:30-3:30, bluegrass from 4:00-6:00). As the summer goes on, the Store plans to start up a new series of honky tonk music events, and celebrate the 10th season of The Floyd Radio Show (more details to come).
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all the community support over the last year,” says Dylan Locke, “and through this support we are able to bounce back and continue to offer the kind of quality music experience folks have come to expect of The Floyd Country Store.”
While the Store is pleased to be able to offer live events in the building once more, the top priority is to keep staff and guests safe and healthy. The uncertainty of the past year and a half has allowed us to adapt to changing circumstances, and the Store will continue to follow the most updated state health guidelines.